By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
Three hundred and ninety – four thousand four hundred and thirty- three (394, 433) participants of the Federal Government’s Extended Special Public Works Programme have so far been paid as of Friday, 18, 2021, document showed last night.
In the document shared by Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, 639, 947 participants registered for the programme meant to provide a stop- gap three month jobs to mainly artisans to earn N20, 000 monthly doing public works.
The document showed that 463, 742 participants have so far been verified and are ready for payment by their various banks.
According to the document, Fidelity Bank has paid 92, 394 participants of the 104, 596 that registered with the bank while UBA has paid 73, 531 participants of the 100, 800 that registered with the bank and Heritage Bank has paid 61, 800 participants of the 102, 800 that registered with the bank.
Also, Zenith Bank has paid 58, 732 participants of the 92, 700 that registered with the bank while Access Bank has paid 58, 638 participants of the 105, 000 that registered with the bank and FCMB has paid 32, 696 participants of the 118, 209 that registered with the bank.
And Yobe MFB has paid 16, 642 participants of the 16, 642 that registered with the bank.
The programme, which was flagged off in January by Keyamo, has come under scrutiny with participants complaining of non – payment of their N20, 000 stipends after competing their assignments.
But on Monday, officials from the National Directorate of Employment, participating banks and the Minister’s office, met at the Minister’s conference room to review the progress so far made in the execution of the programme.
Those present at the meeting on Monday included: Olua Davidson; Faniyi Fatogun; and Christopher Omoaghe (Representatives of the Minister); Olaomi Roseline Silvia; Dauda Idris; Samaila B Mamman (Rep of NDE) and representatives of banks)
At the end of the meeting, all parties affirmed that they will continue the rigorous process of registering and verifying all the participants before payments in order to avoid wide-scale fraud in the programme.
The meeting also agreed that those who have already been selected for the ESPW programme and have issues should approach their various banks to regularise their registration.
The document reads: “All parties affirm that they will continue the rigorous process of registering and verifying all the participants before payments in order to avoid wide-scale fraud in the programme. The banks will continue the role of registering and verifying the participants from their local branches in different LGAs in order to ensure that most of the participants are resident in those LGAs to achieve the aim and design of the programme of empowering 1,000 Nigerians in each of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria.
“The meeting agreed that those who have already been selected for the ESPW programme and have issues should approach their various banks to regularize their registration. The Bank branches are directed to attend to all participants duly selected using https://banks.specialpublicworks.gov.ng. On no account should they be turned back.
“Those who have been duly captured by the banks but with incorrect or inconsistent BVNs are advised to go back to their banks to rectify the inconsistencies. A link will be provided on the ESPW and NDE websites (www.specialpublicworks.gov.ng and www.nde.gov.ng) for participants to check their BVN status. For those who cannot use the internet they should go to the State NDE offices, Liaison Officers of the NDE in their various LGAs or approach the Chairman of their State Selection Committee to avail them the list of those with issues with their BVNs.
“For those who do not have problems with their BVNs but have not received payments, they should go to the banks that registered them to clarify the issues.
“The banks are mandated to issue ATM cards to all participants. Participants are therefore encouraged to collect their ATM cards from the banks so that they can access their payments from various cash points without necessarily going to the banks.
“Participants are assured that their stipends would be paid as soon as all issues are resolved.
“The meeting agreed that banks are no longer restricted to their initially allotted Local Governments. Consequently, selected participants are at liberty to approach any of the seven selected banks nearest to the Local Government where they were selected. The Banks are namely Access, FCMB, Fidelity, Heritage, UBA, Yobe MFB and Zenith.
“So far, the NDE has authorized the payments of one-month stipends to all those that have been verified. As shown above, all parties are making strenuous efforts to resolve issues of those yet to receive the first month stipends before the commencement of the second tranche of payments.”
The SPW is an adhoc programme designed by the federal government to provide a stop – gap three month jobs to mainly artisans to earn N20, 000 monthly doing public works.
1,000 youths were hired from each of the 774 local government areas in the country as beneficiaries, bringing the figure to 774, 000 councils.
N52 billion has been earmarked for the programme expected to last for three months, with the monies used for the purchase of equipment, payment of salaries and other logistics.
But only N26 billion has been released for the programme.