The Federal Government today in Lagos launched the Extended Special Public Works (SPW) Programme aimed at providing jobs for unemployed Nigerians
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, speaking through his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, at the official flag-off ceremony, held at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa-Ikeja, stated that the programme implemented through the National Directorate of Employment, in collaboration with State Governments and other relevant stakeholders, will provide 774,000 jobs for Nigerians across all the local government areas out of which 20,000 will be in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the initiative part of government efforts to stem the tide of rising unemployment and also cushion the effect of the COVID-19 on citizens, adding that the gesture will also complement the State’s programmes that provide opportunities for young people to be productively engaged.
While appreciating the initiative of the Federal Government, Mr. Governor appealed for an increase in the allocation to the State due to the huge population as well as the daily influx of people from other parts of the country.
He recalled that the State flagged off its Graduate Internship Placement Programme in collaboration with the private sector organisations a few weeks ago, just as the State Employment Trust Fund has also continued to fulfil its mandate of supporting creative youths support to become micro and small scale business entrepreneurs.
The Governor thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the leadership that has enabled the successful take-off of the programme and appreciated the efforts of the team that made the event a reality in spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
While congratulating the 20,000 Lagosians selected to participate in the programme, the Governor urged the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of the State, adding that positive attitude and commitment to the assignment would create more opportunities for other unemployed residents in Lagos State.
Earlier in his address, the Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, who was represented by the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos State, Engr. Kayode Popoola disclosed that the Extended Special Public Works Programme is an outcome of the Pilot Special Public Works Programmes in the Rural Area as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the programme is been implemented in eight states of the Federation to gauge its impact on the large population of unemployed youths and the rising insecurity in some parts of the country, stressing that the strategy was adopted to fast-track the achievement of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020).
Stating that the programme is targeted at engaging 774,000 selected unemployed Nigerians to execute carefully selected projects across the 774 Local Government Areas in the country, the Minister added that each participating Local Government Area identified its preferred projects and will be responsible for ensuring that the tasks executed as planned.
In his welcome address, the Acting Director-General, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, who was represented by the Director, Human Resources, Mrs. Adeola Awulat Shafar, emphasised that the programme is 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.
He said, “the Extended Special Public Works programme has been designed as a veritable tool through which the lives of 774,000 unemployed Nigerians would be positively touched in the next three months. Our communities will receive a facelift through the activities of the participants as they will engage in various community specific public works activities ranging from drainage clearing and maintenance, vegetation control, feeder road maintenance and irrigation among many others”.
Fikpo, therefore, charged all participants from the State to reciprocate the gesture of the Federal Government by diligently executing their assigned tasks through the duration of the programme.