A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Initiative for Citizens’ Rights, Accountability and Development (ICRAD), has condemned the Federal Government’s Special Public Works (SPW) Programme designed to employ 774,000 Nigerians.
DAILY POST reported that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the programme, as part of the fiscal stimulus measures to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak and will see 1,000 Nigerians from each of the 774 local government areas engaged.
It was learned that beneficiaries of the programme will be split into various public works for a period of three months.
The Federal Government had constituted a Selection Committees across states of the federation and have given them the nod to commence work immediately.
The programme is expected to commence in October while the employees will be entitled to the sum of N60,000 divided into N20,000 per month for the three months period of engagement.
The Executive Director of ICRAD, Hassan Luqman, Esq in a statement said as commendable as the plan of the federal government to engage Nigerians in various works is, it is disappointing that it cannot pay the national minimum wage.
He further said that the payment could violate the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Hassan continued, “ this is not only disheartening, but it is also a flagrant violation of the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. The National Minimum Wage Act stipulates that no employee should earn less than N30,000 per month.
“This is the benchmark set by the law of the land brought to being by this administration. It is, therefore, curious why this administration will not adhere to the provisions of the law it brought to being.
“Perhaps, the Federal Government thinks that the Special Public Work Programme is a favour being done to Nigerians; therefore, it can pay any amount it deems fit however indecent. The programme is not a favour but an expected intervention programme that every reasonable government should embrace in order to make life easy for the masses in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“Therefore, those engaged deserve to earn nothing less than the minimum wage prescribed by the law. This is more so in view of the biting rise in the cost of living, falling value of naira and loss of earnings being experienced by the masses every day.
“The Hon. Minister of State, Labour & Employment, Festus Keyamo as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is expected to know this and be at the forefront of ensuring that Nigerians earn a decent living from any job given.
The NGO, therefore, called on the Federal Government to make an upward review of the three months earnings of the social workers to N90,000 in order to meet up with the dictates of the law and to give decent earnings to Nigerians.