The Cross River State governor has commended the Federal Government’s initiative of the Extended Special Public Works (ESPW) Programme following its commencement in the country.
He made this commendation on Tuesday, at the flag-off of the ESPW Programme for Cross River, held at the Management Development Institute (MDI) Field, in Calabar.
Governor Ayade who was represented by his Deputy, Professor Ivara Esu lauded President Mohammadu Buhari for the initiative designed to tackle unemployment as well as ameliorating the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians.
His words “one of the things that is affecting this Nation is insecurity occasioned by joblessness” pointing out that the provision of 774,000 jobs will go a long way in addressing poverty having reached the people at the lower rung of government.
“I sincerely hope that those selected will conduct themselves so well on whatsoever they are mandated to do, with a call on President Buhari to make the job permanent as three months is grossly inadequate to achieve its aim”
“The state government is poised to grow the economy of the state by complimenting the Federal Government’s effort with the implementation of a similar project that has engaged Cross Riverian especially her youth across the 18 Local Government to battle with the scourge of poverty through the engagement of 1000 youths across the 18 Local Governments of the state with emphasis on Agricultural Services, Homeland Security and Border Patrol before the commencement of ESPW”
In a keynote address, Hon. Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Power, Prince Goddy Jeddy-Agba said the Extended Special Public Works Programme is an outcome of the pilot Special Public Works Programme in the rural areas approved by President Mohammadu Buhari and implemented by the National Directorate of Employment-NDE in the early part of last year 2020.
The Minister, who was represented by the Board member, Nigerian Electricity Management Agency, Sir Maurice Ibok said the pilot phase was aimed at creating its impact at addressing the ballooning unemployment and rising insecurity in some parts of the country.
“This strategy was adopted to fast track the achievement of the National Economic Sustainability and Growth Plan (NESP) 2017-2020”
“With the emergence of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, Mr President directed the Economy and Sustainability Committee-ESC under the leadership of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo to craft economic measures to cushioned the adverse economic effect occasioned by COVID-19”
The Minister also said that the Federal Government through the National Directorate of Employment – NDE and relevant stakeholders will closely monitor the implementation of the programme for overall success which is aimed at shielding the most vulnerable from the ravaging effect of COVID-19 which are not limited to poverty, environmental degradation and joblessness.
Earlier in his welcome address, Acting Director General, National Directorate of Employment represented by his Deputy Director, Information and Public Relations, Mr. Edmund Onwuliri maintained that the SPW-Programme has been designed as a veritable tool through which 774,000 unemployed Nigerians will be positively touched in the next three months.
He further said that communities will receive a facelift through the activities of the participants as they will be engaged in various community/environment specific public works ranging from drainage, clearing and maintenance, vegetation control, Federal road maintenance, among others.
Advising the beneficiaries, the Director-General said that “beneficiaries should use this opportunity to acquire skills and become self employed while government may in due course create an exit option”
In a goodwill message, Paramount Ruler of Calabar Municipality, Prof. Hogan Itam congratulated the participants for being selected and charged them to utilize their youthful energy in the actualization of the federal government’s initiative which will benefit the public.
“The equipment for the work is meant for the public and should be guided judiciously and should serve the purpose it was meant for”, he added.
The ceremony featured inspection and project demonstration by the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu, Minister’s representative, Honourable Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mrs Stella Ereme Odey-Ekpo, Local Government Council Chairmen and other ranking government functionaries as well as the beneficiaries.