Niger State, has flagged off 25,000 selected beneficiaries out of 774,000 federal government Extended Special Public Works (ESPW) Programme to cushion the adverse socio- economic effect of Covid -19 pandemic in Nigeria.
The Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, on Tuesday, at the flag off ceremony in Minna,. said that the programme was adopted as a result of the outcome of its pilot scheme in rural areas, in some eight states of the federation.
He explained that this was in order to gauge its impact on addressing the ballooning population of the unemployed youths and rising insecurity in the country to be implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in the outcome year, 2020.
Ambassador Dada stated further that under National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) the Ministry of Labour and Employment was engaging the nation’s youths in some crucial sectors of the economy, aimed at the creation of productive and inclusive societies.
He added that this will also shield the most vulnerable people in the society from the ravaging effect of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic which include, but not limited to, pervasive hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and joblessness.
Dada, pointed out that the beneficiaries were carefully selected across the 25 local governments of Niger State, who were unemployed to be engaged in executing some selected projects in their localities and charged them to make use of skills and knowledge gained to be self- reliant.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, assured of Federal Government’s closed monitoring the implementation of the programme to ascertain the efficient utilization of all human and material resources committed into the scheme.
The Acting Director General of NDE, Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, represented by a Deputy Director, Mrs. Kate Oyoyo said that the agency was very conscious of President Muhammadu Buhari’s sincere desire and commitment to support the less privileged.
He stated that ESPW has been designed as a veritable tool through which the lives of 774,000 unemployed Nigerians will be positively touched in the next three months (5th January to 4th April 2021), urging participants to reciprocate the kind gesture and communities to cooperate with them for optimal result.
Earlier in his remarks, the State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) , Ahmed Ibrahim Matane thereby applauded the federal government for the laudable programme, and assured of continued partnership with the federal government especially in termes of job creation, noting that careful selection should be done on the participants.
Meanwhile, the State Coordinator of NDE, Alhaji Abdulmalik Lima advised the participants who were entitled to N20,000 stipends monthly to take the program with seriousness in order to be self reliant considering the rate of unemployment experienced in recent times, thereby responsible for the actualization of the mandate of the agency of job creation.