The 774,000 jobs of the Federal Government’sExpanded Special Public Works Programme is set to have a multiplier effect onthe nation’s economy and help reduce poverty.
Delta state governorIfeanyi Okowa who stated this on Tuesday also added that the programme will helpreduce unemployment greatly in the country.
Okowa who stated this during the officialflag-off of the Programme for the South-South Geopolitical zone in Asabacommended the Federal Government on the commencement of the program in thecountry.
The Governor who was represented by the StateCommissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, expressed excitement on thecommencement of the Programme, advising the beneficiaries to see the opportunityas their little beginning while looking to the unveiling of similar projects toengage more Nigerians out of poverty.
Okowa told the 25,000 beneficiaries in Deltato see this as an opportunity to grow the economy of the state and nation,saying: “Here in Delta we have also engaged several youths into our variousjobs creation platforms.
We have scaled this up by engaging over fiveministries in this regard. “We look forward to much more collaborative effortsbetween the Federal Government and the State Government. Let me appreciatePresident Muhammadu Buhari for not making this project and program a politicalone because hunger and poverty do not know the political party.
“When you check the economic effects of thisprogramme, you will appreciate the fact that in Delta alone, 25, 000 indigenesare benefiting from the programme.
“When you also look at the multiplier effectof N20,000 per 1,000 beneficiaries across the 774 local government areasbringing the number to the 774,000 persons you’re talking about N15 billionbeing put into the Nigerian economy currently in the hands of the poorest ofthe poor”.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Labour andEmployment, Chief Festus Keyamo, SAN in his keynote address, said the ExtendedSpecial Public Works Programme was an outcome of the Pilot Special Public WorksProgramme in the rural areas approved by President Muhammadu Buhari andimplemented by the NDE in early part of the year 2020.
Keyamo who was represented by the ExecutiveDirector, Cabotage Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration and SafetyAgency, NIMASA, Mr Victor Ochei, said the programme was aimed at shielding themost vulnerable from the ravaging effects of COVID-19 pandemic which includepervasive hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and joblessness.
The Minister said: “Although the ExpandedSpecial Public Works (ESPW) is an ephemeral strategy to last for three months,5th January-4th April 2021.
I am convinced that it will provide thenecessary economic palliatives to these 774,000 unemployed youths. “Let meemphasise that the youth who diligently participate in this projectimplementation may then deploy the knowledge and skills acquired to becomeself-employed while government and the organised private sector may in duecourse create or provide exit options”.
Speaking earlier, the Acting Director-General,National Directorate of Employment, NDE, Mallam Abubakar Fikpo, said theprogramme was a significant step in Nigeria’s quest to win the war against massunemployment as well as to ameliorate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
Represented by the Delta State Coordinator ofthe NDE, Mr Anthony Olu said the Extended Special Public Works, SPW programmewas designed as a veritable tool through which the lives of 774,000 unemployedNigerians would be positively touched in the next three months.
He said beyond the monetary compensation to the beneficiaries, the communities would receive a facelift through the activities of the participants, adding that they would engage in various community and environment-specific works activities ranging from, drainage clearing and maintenance, vegetation control, feeder roads maintenance, irrigation, great green wall and orchard maintenance among others.
In his goodwill message, Chairman Delta StateSelection Committee, Professor Kelly Ejumudo, congratulated the participantsfor being selected and urged them to save from the little earnings to make lifebetter for themselves.
He said the programmewas geared towards benefiting the public adding that no government can totallyeliminate poverty but every government must take concrete actions to reduce thecycle of poverty.