Alhaji Mutiu Are is the Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Lagos State Chapter of 774,000 Jobs Project. In this interview with The Gazelle News.com’s team, he speaks on the importance of the project and other issues.
Q: Let’s start from your assignment, as Chairman of the Lagos State 774,000 Jobs Project, what does the assignment entails?
A: Thank you, the assignment has kept me busy for sometime now. It is meant to be a kind of a palliative measure for the people on Covid-19.
The President, realising the fact that Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on the people particularly youths, decided to put in place this programme to serve as palliative to the beneficiaries.
The idea is to engage 1000 people per local govenrment throughout Nigeria and pay them stipends for an initial period of three months. There are 774 local governments in Nigeria hence the name, 774,000 Jobs Project, if we engage 1000 people each from the 774 local governments in Nigeria, we get 774,000.
In Lagos, we are engaging 20,000 people because there are 20 local governments in the state.
The beneficiaries are contributing to the economy in their own way, for instance in Lagos, it means about N1.2 million is injected into the economy monthly through the project while the benefiting families have something to take home monthly.
Q: Is there a time-limit for the programme to take off? For how long will the beneficiaries enjoy the programme?
A: For the initial period, the beneficiaries are to be paid for three months. Whether it extends further than that depends on the government.
The take off time is October but we were faced with banking problems because of Covid-19 regulations.
The number is huge: 1000 per local government, particularly in this Covid-19 era. No banking hall will accommodate such huge number of people even if there is no Covid-19.
What we did in Lagos was that we arranged with the bank to be attending to 100 people in a day. Even at that, it was much but we worked round it.
Q: 20,000 jobs in Lagos state, very enormous, what particular assignments will the beneficiaries do?
A: They will be posted to various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as local government areas to assist them in the area of manpower.
This project cuts across all fields and that’s why traditional rulers, religious leaders, market leaders and transport union leaders are included as members of the committee. This is to ensure that the beneficiaries spread across board.
Q: This project is expected to be executed in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), how cooperative have they been?
A: So far so good, as far as Lagos State is concerned, we are cooperating with each other and we have been getting the desired results.
Q: After the first set of beneficiaries complete the first cycle of three months, are we still expecting another set of beneficiaries to come in?
A: As I said earlier, the first set of beneficiaries will be there for initial period of three months.
What happened after that is the prerogative of the government.
Q: In Lagos, how did you get the 20,000 people?
A: Each local government was allocated 1000 slots, for the whole 20 local governments, there are 20,000 beneficiaries.
We left the selection to the local governments though we guided them on the fact that it must cut across.
Q: In your interaction with people, what do you see as their reaction to this program?
A: I believe the turnout of the people for the programme is an indication of how enthusiastic they are about it.
The turn out was so huge that if we were given one million slots by the Federal Government in Lagos State, we will easily filled it. The people are simply enthusiastic and appreciative.
Q: Sir, after this program, where do we go from there?
A: That depends on the government; the assignment given to us in Lagos is to get the 20,000 beneficiaries from all the 20 local governments and we have done that.
At least, we will wait for the first set of beneficiaries to complete the first cycle of three months. Then, we will know if it will be extended with the same set of people or we are bringing in new set of beneficiaries.