The Federal Government’s Extended Special Public Works Programme (ESPW) for 774,000 job seekers in the 774 local government areas across the country has started in earnest nationwide.
The programme which was flagged off by state governors or high-profile officials of the federal government on Tuesday, engages in disproportionate number, unemployed youths in the states.
Governor Udom Emmanuel was represented at the event by the Deputy Governor, Moses Ekpo who expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for introducing the scheme.
He stated that the programme will create 1,000 jobs in each of the 31 LGAs of the state that would engage youths in communities and villages in skilled and unskilled professions.
The Governor was optimistic that communities in the state will derive socio-economic benefits from the implementation of the programme through the engagement and activities of the participants.
He revealed that the benefits would range from feeder road maintenance, drainage clearing and maintenance, street clearing and general sanitation exercise among others.
“This is implemented in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the ESPW is targeted at shielding the most vulnerable skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled youths in the 774 Local Government Areas, in our state.
“It is projected that 31,000 youths will benefit from the ESPW programme in the initial three months of its implementation,” he said.
And in Niger state, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada said during the flag-off ceremony of twenty-five thousand beneficiaries of the Federal Government intervention in Minna, that under the National Economic Sustainability Plan, the Ministry of Labour and Employment is engaging the nation’s youths in some critical sector of the economy to impact livelihood of beneficiaries.
Also speaking, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who was represented by Arc. Ubokutom Nyah, said the introduction of the scheme became necessary with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He stated that the programme which is supervised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment will adopt a proactive approach in engaging youths and stimulating the economy.
In his opening remark, Acting Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mallam Abubakar who was represented by the Deputy Director of NDE, Engr. Enechi Ngozika, said the introduction of the Public Works programme was significant in the quest for the nation to win the war against mass unemployment, poverty, and ameliorate the effect of COVID-19.
He said, “It is my honour and pleasure to report that after the successful conduct of the pilot phase of this programme within the first quarter of 2020 in eight states namely, Adamawa, Borno, Ebony, Edo, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari, approved for it’s implementation in all the 36 states and the FCT”.
Speaking in a goodwill message, State Commissioner of Labour and Manpower Planning, Pastor Sunny Ibuot, lauded the Federal Government’s initiative to provide employment for the teeming youths.
He mentioned that the programme will complement the industrial programmes of Governor Udom Emmanuel in the state, and commended the Federal Government for the initiative, and the coordinating body in the state for working tirelessly in order to flag- off the programme.
He called for proper supervision of the programme to ensure that the aims and objectives were achieved.