President, Maj.Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has approved the temporary employment of 774,000 people who will engage in sweeping of streets, markets and clearing of gutters for a period of three months.
The initiative will be funded from the N60bn Covid-19 Intervention Fund and will last from October to December 2020, according to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
The government of Nigeria had announced on its official Twitter handle in February that the initiative, known as the Special Works Programme, would target rural communities.
The tweet read in part, “The SPW beneficiaries have been engaged to carry out clearing, cleaning of streets, markets, schools, drains etc and also maintenance of rural feeder roads. No skills or formal education are required for the SPW programme. The target areas are rural communities.
“The eight states in the pilot phase of the National Directorate of Employment-managed SPW programme are as follows: Ebonyi, Borno, Edo, Ekiti, Adamawa, Kwara, Katsina and Jigawa. The SPW is a three-month paid initiative aimed at engaging young unemployed Nigerians in rural areas during the dry (non-farming) season.”
However, Special Assistant to the president on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, said on Twitter on Monday that the initiative had been extended to the 36 states of the federation.
He tweeted: “President Buhari has now approved that this programme be extended to all 36 states and the FCT from October to December 2020. It will result in the employment of 774, 000 Nigerians (1,000 people per LGA). Funding will come from the new Covid-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.”
Ogunlesi clarified that the fund that would be used in funding the initiative would not be the same as the Coalition Against Covid-19 Fund administered by the private sector.