FG Boosts A'Ibom Local Economy With 31, 000 SPW Jobs

The Federal Government's Special Public Works (SPW), programme, which was flagged off in Akwa Ibom on Monday, January 11, will see 31,000 unemployed youths earning a stipend for three months as COVID-19 palliatives.

For three months, 31,000 unemployed youths in Akwa Ibom State, will be on the sites of carefully selected projects working under the Special Public Works, SPW, programme, an initiative of the Federal Government to address the issue of pervasive hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and joblessness. They will be pain N20,000 stipend every month. This follows the launching of the programme in Uyo, on Monday, by the Federal Government, through the National Directorate of Employment, NDE. Flagging off the SPW programme in the state, Gov. Udom Emmanuel appreciated President Muhamadu Buhari for approving the programme, which he described as a laudable initiative. Represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, the governor also commended the minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, who is also the chairman, NDE board and the supervising minister of NDE, for his unrelenting efforts to get the programme off the ground, in order to fast track the attainment of the Economic Recovery and Growth plan (2017-2020) Emmanuel expressed hope that the programme will not only provide succour to the beneficiaries, but "it is also expected that our communities will receive socio-economic benefits through activities of participants in this programme, benefits that will range from feeder road maintenance, drainage clearing and maintenance, street clearing and general sanitation exercise. "I have no doubt that if properly monitored and supervised, the programme will at the end of the day, register such value-added success in which our youths would have leverage on our Dakkada philosophy in order to deploy the skills and knowledge acquired to become selfemployed, he said. He pledged the resolve of the state government to continue to forge greater partnership with the Federal Government in order to provide gainful employment to the teeming youths and boost the nation's economy, and congratulated the beneficiaries and wished them success. The Acting DirectorGeneral of NDE, Abubakar Fikpo, said SPW has been designed as a veritable tool through which the lives of the 744,000 unemployed Nigerians will be positively touched in the next three months. Represented by Genesis Ngozika, an engineer, 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 COVID19 pandemic. He charged all the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by diligently executing their assigned tasks throughout the duration of the programme. In a keynote address, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio said that the programme was intended to facilitate the creation of productive and inclusive societies in the nation. Akpabio, who was represented by Arc. Ubokutom Nyah, the Managing Director of Prudential Cooperative and Microfinance Bank, PCMFB, said "it is also aimed at shielding the most vulnerable from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, which include, but are not limited to, pervasive hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and joblessness He said the need to quickly address the abovementioned challenges informed the decision to implement the extended special public works programme. "Our target is to immediately engage the 774,000 selected unemployed Nigerians for the programme to execute carefully selected projects across the 774 local government areas, identified its preferred projects and will be responsible for ensuring that they are executed as planned, he said, adding "I am convinced that it will provide the necessary economic palliatives to these 774,000 unemployed youths He disclosed that the Federal Government will closely monitor the implementation of the programme to ascertain the efficient utilization of every resource, human and material, committed to the programme. In a goodwill message, the commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning, Pastor Sunny Ibuot, said the SPW will complement development programmes of the state government, adding, "there will be added value to already existing infrastructure in the state While thanking the Federal Government for the laudable programme, Ibuot made a case for close supervision to ensure the objectives were achieved. On her part, the State chairman, implementation committee, Mrs Catherine Ude thanked the President for the vision which she described as unprecedented and expressed the hope that the programme will be executed successfully in the state. High point of the event was the demonstration at project site with the use of work tools donated to the beneficiaries.

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