The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Thursday, flagged off the Extended Special Works Programme initiated by the Federal Government to take 16,000 unemployed residents of the Land of Honour off the streets.
Dr. Fayemi who spoke at the flag-off ceremony held at the Government House Pavilion in Ado Ekiti explained that the scheme would attract N960 million to the local economy within the space of three months.
The Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, commended the Federal Government for the take-off of the scheme which he said would go a long way in reducing unemployment and poverty in the State and in the country as a whole.
A statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, explained that the flag-off ceremony was attended by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo and the Acting Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mallam Abubakar Musa Fikpo.
Dr. Fayemi said the resolve of the Federal Government to commence the scheme was highly appreciated adding that its implementation was timely considering the economic challenges posed by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the local and global economy.
The Governor disclosed that the 16,000 beneficiaries selected for the program in Ekiti would be engaged in transient jobs like drainage digging, rural feeder road maintenance, traffic control, street cleaning and public infrastructure maintenance for a period of three months on a monthly remuneration of N20,000 each.
“The multiplier effects of N20,000 per months for 1,000 beneficiaries across the 774 Local Government Arras bringing the number to 774,000 citizens of Nigeria, shows that the Federal Government is committing Billions of Naira into the Nigerian economy currently in the hands of the teeming unemployed youths.
“In Ekiti State, we are having 16,000 beneficiaries in the scheme, which indicates 1,000 people from each Local Government Area. When you check the economic benefit of this programme in our state, you will appreciate its multiplier effects on the State’s economy.
“It gladdens my heart that the programme has a potential of attracting a total of Nine Hundred and Sixty Million (N960,000,000.00) into the State’s economy,” the Governor said.
Dr. Fayemi noted that his administration has engaged several youths into its various job creation platforms and given them an enabling environment to maximise their potentials in all sectors, particularly in agribusiness.
He urged the 16,000 beneficiaries to remain steadfast and be committed to the goals of the programme urging them to be hardworking, dedicated and diligent on the jobs allocated to them.
Earlier, Otunba Adebayo, in his address, assured that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would not relent in its efforts towards ensuring that Nigerian youths are gainfully employed.
The Minister noted that in spite of the challenges bedevilling the nation’s economy, the administration has designed a roadmap to revamp the economy through various social intervention schemes.
He said: “One of such intervention programmes which the NDE has implemented in our State is the Micro-Enterprise Enhance Scheme where 15,000 women were beneficiaries of a N15 million grant.
“Recently, the Federal Government launched the National Youth Investment Fund and the programme will empower at least 500,000 Nigerian youths, also the Federal Government has also created MSME Survival Fund to cushion the impact of Covid-19 on MSMEs.”
The Minister commended the Governor for his efforts in putting smiles on the faces of the people through intervention programmes like Ounje Arugbo (Special Feeding Scheme for the Aged), Owo Arugbo (Monthly Stipends for the Aged), microcredit loans and employment into the civil service.
The Acting Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, said the scheme was aimed at winning the war against mass unemployment and minimizing the effects of COVID-19 on the economy.
The NDE boss also added that the programme was also designed to improve the economic viability of 16,000 people in Ekiti State for the next three months.
According to him, a good number of the participants would be engaged in drainage clearing, irrigation activities, road clearing and other environmental activities.
The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Biodun Omoleye described the innovation as “the greatest and largest employment intervention in the history of the country.”
He charged the beneficiaries to take the assignment seriously as a series of monitoring committees have been put in place, warning that “Anybody that is not willing to comply with rules of the programme should pull out.”
Highlights of the occasion was the presentation of working tools and demonstration of the tools to the beneficiaries.
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