The Federal Government has has inaugurated its Extended Special Public Works Programme in Nasarawa State aimed at employing 1,000 youths in each of the 774 local government areas of the country.
Mr. Festus Keyamo, Minister of state, Labour and Employment, launched the programme in Lafia on Tuesday on behalf of the Federal Government for the 13,000 beneficiaries in the state.
Keyamo was represented by the Minister of state for Science and Technology, Mr. Abdullahi Mohammed, who was in turn represented by the Director, Human Resources Management , National Board for Technical Incubation (NBTII), Mr. Abubakar Nuhu.
He said the programme was adopted as a proactive approach to create job opportunities for the unemployed youth.
He charged beneficiaries of the initiative to work hard to justify the purpose for which the programme was initiated.
He said that COVID-19 had continued to pose a great challenge to the economy, thus the need to engage youths across the states of the federation to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
“The extended special public works programme is being implemented in all states of the federation.
“This strategy was adopted as part of the economic recovery programme.
“But with the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic President Muhammadu Buhari directed the economic sustainability committee under the leadership of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to flag off economic measure to cushion the adverse effects of the pandemic,” Keyamo said.
Speaking, Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa applauded the Federal Government for the initiative which was aimed at taking unemployed youths off the streets and engaging them in different special works programmes.
“It is for this reason that we considered this programme a veritable tool through which 13,000 unemployed indigenes of Nasarawa would be touched positively in the next three months,” he said.
The governor charged the implementing agency, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), and the supervising ministry to monitor and provide necessary support to ensure that the programme was a success.
“I equally call on the participants to utilise this golden opportunity availed by the Federal Government to become self-employed.
“In the same vein, I call on the local government councils, traditional rulers, religious and opinion leaders, and other critical stakeholders to support this laudable programme to succeed,” he said.
In his welcome address, Alhaji Abubakar Fikpo, Acting Director-General of NDE said the programme was a significant step in Nigeria’s quest to win the war against mass unemployment as well as ameliorate the effects of COVID-19.
Fikpo, represented by Alhaji Idris Wase, Director, Special Public Works Department, NDE, assured that the agency would remain in the forefront in the fight against poverty and joblessness in the country.
He said that after the successful conduct of the pilot phase of the programme within the first quarter of 2020 in eight states namely: Adamawa, Borno, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina and Kwara, President Buhari approved its implementation in the 36 states and FCT reaching the 774 LGAs of Nigeria.
“Today marks the actualisation of the single most far-reaching grassroots based employment creation in the history of our great nation.
“I want to place on record our immense gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the confidence he entrusted in NDE for the implementation of the project.
“The entire management and staff members of the directorate are totally commitment and dedicated to the smooth and effective implementation of what we have come to proudly call the 774,000 jobs programme.
“We are conscious of the expectations of Mr President and his sincere desire and commitment to support the less privileged at a time when the country and indeed the whole world strives on the part of recovery from the effects and shackles of COVID-19,” Fikpo said.
He said that appropriate working tools and protective wears have being provided for all the participants in their daily work schedule.
“Equally, all participants have been duly documented and their details captured by designated banks to guarantee a fraud-free, transparent and fair service delivery.
“To ensure effective monitoring of the programme, supervisors have been appointed in all the electoral wards of the country,” he said.
Fikpo charge all the participants nationwide to reciprocate the president’s gesture by diligently executing their assigned tasks throughout the duration of the programme.
Mr. Kassim Mohammed, Chairman of the Special Public Works Programme in the state, said the programme is specifically for the unskilled youth who were selected with the guidelines from the Minister of state, Labour and Employment to be employed for three months.
“These unskilled labour, 1000 each from each local government area would be paid the sum of N20,000 monthly.
“By implication, the president will be injecting N20 million to the economy of each local government area of Nasarawa state for three months,” he said.
Mr. Sani Omadefu, a beneficiary from Doma Local Government Area of the state, expressed gratitude to the Buhari’s administration for the gesture adding that the initiative would go a long way in reducing youth restiveness across the state. (NAN)