The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said on Monday President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the engagement of 774, 000 Nigerians on Special Public Works programme in the country to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahmed disclosed this at a press conference on fiscal stimulus measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock in Abuja.
She said 1, 000 people were expected to be recruited from each of the 774 local government areas of the country.
According to her, the sum of N60 billion as allowances and operational cost has been earmarked from the COVID-19 crisis intervention fund for the initiative.
The minister disclosed that President Buhari had previously approved a pilot special public works programme in eight states to be implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
She added that Buhari had now approved that this programme be extended to all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory from October to December 2020 and the selected time-frame was to ensure that it was implemented after the planting season.
Ahmed said: “The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is also evaluating how best to extend the Special Public Works Programme, to provide modest stipends for itinerant workers to undertake Roads Rehabilitation and Social Housing Construction.
“And also Urban and Rural Sanitation, Health Extension and other critical services. This intervention will be undertaken in conjunction with the key federal ministries responsible for Agriculture, Environment, Health and Infrastructure, as well as the states, to financially empower individuals who lose their jobs due to the economic crisis.
Mr. President has approved the establishment of a-N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund. The establishment of the Fund will involve drawing much-needed cash resources from various Special Funds and Accounts, in consultation with and with the approval of the National Assembly.
The N500 billion is proposed to be utilized to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and approved by Mr. President.
“This will help to finance the Federal Government’s Interventions to support states in improving healthcare facilities, finance the creation of a Special Public Works programme and Fund any additional interventions that may be approved by Mr. President.” (NAN)