Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has ordered a halt to public works programme through which the Federal Government intends to engage 774,000 workers nationwide until modalities for implementation has been explained to the legislature.
The National Assembly, in a statement jointly signed by Ajibola Basiru and Benjamin Kalu, spokespersons of the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, said on Wednesday that, as representatives of the people, the Assembly needs to be appraised of the modalities to ensure effective feedback.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, had clashed with the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Labour, over the public works programme, when the former appeared before the lawmakers on Tuesday.
The federal legislature, however, noted that it is concerned about effective implementation of the public works scheme and as such is committed to its success.
According to the National Assembly, it was part of the conception of the programme and appropriated funds for it as part of the country’s COVID-19 response strategy.
The statement reads:
‘The National Assembly, in line with its constitutional oversight function, has mandated its Committees on Labour and Productivity to immediately invite the Hon. Minister for Labour and Productivity and any other relevant officials of the Ministry to appear before the joint committee to brief it on the modality for the implementation of the engagement of 774,000 persons for public works.
‘In accordance with the constitutional imperative of oversight, the Legislature being important stakeholders in the democratic process, and elected representatives of the people, needed to be appraised of modalities for implementation for effective feedback to our constituents and in ensuring that our constituents optimally participate in and benefit from the process.
‘In view of the foregoing, the implementation of the programme shall be on hold pending proper briefing of the National Assembly by the Minister of Labour and Productivity.
‘The National Assembly will ensure transparency of the process just as done with the National Social Register by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.’