thoughtfulness in initiating the Extended Special Public Works Programme aimed at addressing mass unemployment among the unskilled youth.
The Minister who gave this commendation at the state flag-off of the federal government extended special public works programme held in Lokoja township stadium, also maintained that the interventionist programme, approved in October 2019 was specifically for 1,000 persons each from all the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the country for temporary employment during the dry season.
Aliyu, who acknowledged that though the programme was not entirely new in Nigeria, however, observed that this is the first time in Nigeria government is focusing on unskilled workers, adding that before now, the emphasis has been on unemployed graduates and skilled workers.
She also noted that these types of programmes were used during the Great Depression by industrialised nations to immediately respond to grinding poverty at the lowest level of the society that normally bears the brunt of such economic upheavals.
The Minister affirmed that the programme was also effectively used during colonial Africa to quickly respond to situations such as drought and famine by mobilising the unskilled persons to engage in other labour intensive infrastructural projects as a means of immediately alleviating their situation.
According to a statement issued on Saturday by her Special Assistant Media, Austine Elemue, the minister said: “I understand that the interventionist programme, approved in October 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari, was specifically for 1,000 persons each from all the 774 Local Government Areas of the country for temporary employment during the dry season.
“Nevertheless, the programme is not entirely new to Nigeria as the National Directorate of Employment in collaboration with International Labour Organisation (ILO) first introduced it in the mid-90s, even though, the ILO itself derived the idea of Special Public Works programme from several historical templates.
“Let me add that though the programme is not entirely new, what is novel is the fact that this is the first time the Nigerian government is focusing on unskilled workers. Before now, the emphasis has been on unemployed graduates and skilled workers”.
Aliyu, therefore, called on all the participants especially from Kogi State to reciprocate the gesture of Mr. President by diligently executing their assigned roles throughout the duration of the short-term but fruitful engagement of the programme.
Earlier, the Acting Director-General of National Directorate of Employment, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, revealed that the initiative would have commenced some three months ago, but was regrettably delayed due to unnecessary and unavoidable circumstances, noting that with the flag-off of the programme the communities would witness a facelift through the activities of specific works to be carried out by participants ranging from drainage clearing and maintenance, vegetation control, feeder roads amongst others.
He assured that participants have been duly documented and their details captured by designated banks to guarantee a fraud-free, transparent and fair service delivery, stressing that to ensure effective monitoring of the scheme, supervisors have been appointed in all the electoral wards of the country to conduct supervisory roles.