By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
After months of delay, the 774,000 jobs under the Extended Public Special Works, (SPW) of the National Directorate of Employment, (NDE) finally got underway to improve the lives of beneficiaries and redress Nigeria’s mass unemployment problem.
The Extended Special Public Works programme was designed as measures through which the lives of unemployed beneficiaries would be impacted upon within three months.
Under the SPW programme, both human communities and individual beneficiaries are to be impacted upon as communities are to receive facelifts through various activities of participants in areas such as clearing of drainage, vegetation control, feeder roads maintenance, irrigation, great green wall, orchards maintenance among others.
Acting Director General of the NDE, Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo in a message at the flag off of the Extended Special Public Works programme in Minna, Niger state, said the SPW programme is a significant milestone effort at addressing Nigeria’s mass unemployment debacle.
Represented by a Director at the NDE headquarters, Kate Oyoyo, Fikpo said the SPW programme which has a huge absorptive capacity for job creation was supposed to have been launched over three months earlier, but was stalled due to unforeseen hiccups.
The SPW has however been tried on a pilot phase in the first quarter of last year in the eight states of Adamawa, Borno, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina and Kwara. It’s success in the states gave the federal government the impetus to expand it to all the thirty six states and Abuja for implementation.
All the 774 local government councils in the country are now to benefit from the programme as 774,000 jobs are now up to be availed by selected beneficiaries.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada who flagged off the commencement of the job provision in Niger state, praised the present administration’s determination to redress unemployment in Nigeria.
He noted that the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic had further thrown serious challenges of unemployment for which dynamic measures must be initiated to square up the unforeseen increase in cases of loss of jobs and economic empowerment.
Amb. Zubairu Dada revealed that the Economic Sustainability Committee, (ESC) under the chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had come up with a blue print it termed National Economic Sustainability Plan, (NESP) where proactive approach to engage the mass of the country’s unemployed youths in gainful employment.
Twenty five thousand unemployed youth in Niger state are to be engaged in selected projects across the twenty five council areas of the state. Authorities in each council area is to ensure that the projects are well executed.