The ongoing crisis between the Senators, members of the House of Representatives and the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Festus Keyamo over the National Directorate of Employment planned employment of 774, 000Nigerians in the Special Public Works Programme 2020, on Monday, took a new twist as the National Assembly said that Keyamo is too small an officer to cause Misunderstanding between it and President Muhammadu Buhari.
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan who took a swipe at the Minister of State, Labour and Productivity said that only one person determines the Executive and that is the President of the country and that Keyamo is quite insignificant in the Executive to cause any quargmire, just as he President Muhammadu Buhari who represents the executive arm of government the National Assembly is on the same page with, on various development-driven national projects.
Lawan who was responding to a question yesterday in Abuja during an interactive session with journalists said that the N52billion appropriated project, must be implemented by the National Directorate of Employment ( NDE), as contained in the N10.8trillion revised 2020 budget.
The President of the Senate said that the Senate stands on its position and insisting that the Special Public Works Programe that has to do with the recruitment of 774, 000 youths across the 774 local government councils in the country, remained suspended until detailed explanations on modalities for its implementation are gotten from the Executive.
Meanwhile, Lawan has disclosed that the Executive will forward to the Senate in the next two weeks, the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB for further legislative activities, and subsequent passage.
On the raising of the price of Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS to N143.8 per litre, the President of the Senate said, ” we will look into the fuel hike and see what we will do as we are always on the side of the people.”
Speaking further on the planned recruitment of the 774,000 and the faceoff between the National Assembly and Keyamo, Lawan said, “Let me go to the first question that it appears we are not on the same page with the executive arm of government.
“Only one person defines the executive arm of government. Any other person there is recruited or appointed to support that one person. That one person is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“So if somebody, an employee or an appointee, out of several does something that does not show harmony, it will be unfair and uncharitable to say that the executive arm of government is not on the same page with us.
“But let me tell you also here that the National Assembly consciously and patriotically passed the request of the executive for N52billion to undertake the programme of on Public Works across the country, where 1,000 youths particularly will be employed in every single local government and that will give you 774,000 people to be employed. That was the approval by the National Assembly in the approved budget request of Mr. President.
“When the National Assembly was to pass the request, the National Assembly was conscious through scrutiny that NDE (National Directorate of Employment) will be the agency to implement the programme and we approved that because we know NDE has the capacity to implement the programme. So that programme is an NDE programme approved by the National Assembly worth N52billion.
“Secondly, it is within the purview of our committees to demand an explanation on the process and procedure through which this programme will be implemented. So our joint committee was right. The Committee was right to ask the questions. We are meant to interrogate the processes through which such programmes will be implemented.
“Thirdly, the Committee’s resolve that the programme should be suspended until such explanations are provided on how this programme will be implemented. We stand by that. The National Assembly is saying that programme remains suspended until the executive arm of government comes to explain how they will implement that programme across the states and we insist that we passed the budget for NDE to go and implement because it has the capacity. Our purpose is not just to approve the money.
“We insist that only NDE will implement this programme and even the NDE led by the Minister of Employment and Productivity will have to come and explain to the National Assembly Committees how they will implement the programme. For us, we have passed the budget, we have approved it, we are going to support the programme because our constituents will be the beneficiaries and if we didn’t like the programme we would not have passed it.
“So it would be unfair to say that the executive and we in the legislature are not on the same page because of an action by someone out or among the executive. I want the press to understand that what the National Assembly is insisting on is in the national and public interest.
“It is in the national interest that we know what is going on because we passed the N52billion and somebody should explain to us how the processes of selecting the States Selection Committee is, who are the stakeholders, how are they identified and nominated.
“How are the 1,000 beneficiaries from each Local Government going to be selected, how do we measure the success of the programme, how do we key in to support the executive arm of government to succeed in that respect.
“So there is nothing that this is an indication that the executive and the legislature are not on the same page. But this is a programme that Nigerians must benefit and we are representatives of Nigerians we want a complete understanding of how this programme is going to be implemented.”