From Mustapha Adamu, Kano
The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has flagged off the Extended Special Public Works (SPW) programme in Kano State.
The scheme which entails temporary employment of 774,000 youth across the 774 Local Government Areas in the country, and the disbursement of N20,000 to each of the beneficiaries for three months, was conceived by the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN.
The minister, who is the Chairman of the Board of the NDE, mandated the directorate to coordinate the programme, which include selected projects nationwide.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony, held at Bayero University Kano yesterday, the Acting Director General of NDE, Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, described the scheme as “a very significant step in Nigeria’s quest to win the war against mass unemployment as well as to ameliorate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.”
Fikpo explained that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved for the implementation of the programme to all 36 states of the federation “after the successful conduct of pilot phase of the programme within first quarter of 2020 in 8 states, including Adamawa, Borno, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina and Kwara States.”
Represented by Aliyu Abubakar Bichi, Director Procurement of NDE, Fikpo added that 44,000 youth would benefit from the scheme in Kano, adding that 1000 youth were selected from each of the 44 Local Government Areas in the state.
The Acting Director General described the programme as the best and most far-reaching grass root based employment creation in the history of Nigeria.
He then charged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by the President to be dedicated to their job.
In his remarks, President Buhari, said SPW came to limelight in a bid to quickly address the issue of pervasive hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and joblessness.
Buhari, represented by Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Salihi Mgashi (rtd.) explained that each participating Local Government was responsible for identifying its preferred projects and would ensure that they are executed as planned.
The president expressed optimism that the scheme would provide necessary economic palliative to the 774,000 unemployed youths, adding that the beneficiaries might deploy the knowledge/skills acquired to become self-employed.
In his part, the Kano state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje said his administration had provided numerous programmes aimed at empowering youth in the state.
According to him, over 700 youth that had been graduated after undergoing training on modern auto-mechanic and have since started practicing the training they acquired.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, also stated that the government had launched a programme in which 8,000 rural women were given N20, 000 each in order to cushion their economic effects.
He thanked the President for introducing numerous Social Investment Programmes, aimed at alleviating poverty in the country.