The Federal Government on Friday in Enugu launched the Extended Special Public Works Programme aimed at employing 774,000 youths across Nigeria.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, while performing the ceremony, said that the event was a big leap to the current administration’s employment generation policy.
Onyeama said that the Federal Government had the target of lifting no fewer than 100 million Nigerians from poverty in the next 10 years.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari had taken several positive steps aimed at realising the target.
He said that the Federal Government was not unmindful of the fact that the youth have had it tough due to the economic challenges in the country but assured Nigerians that it was time to get things right.
The minister said that the jobs would provide the 17,000 employees the opportunity to feed themselves, acquire certain technical competencies and improve on their resources.
He said that the government was working toward making sure that workers earned living wages in order to improve their conditions of living.
“The country will suffer all manner of ills when we do not provide living wages to our people,” he said.
Onyeama said that he had sadly come across some Nigerian youths who undertook perilous and harrowing journeys across the seas in the guise of looking for greener pastures.
He said that the current administration desired to lay a solid economic base for the country in order to forestall such dangerous escapades.
Also, Mrs Josephine Onuka, the Deputy Director, Accounts and Finance, National Directorate for Employment (NDE), said that the programme would help to ameliorate the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Onuka said that the Extended Special Public Works programme was part of the efforts aimed at curbing poverty and joblessness in the country.
Earlier, the Chairman, Enugu State Selection Committee, Chief Gbazuoagu Nweke, urged the beneficiaries of the programme to use the opportunity to lay their hands on useful small scale enterprises.
Nweke said that 17,000 beneficiaries selected from the 17 local government areas of the state were participating in the programme.
He said that the programme was designed to impact on the lives of vulnerable youths.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the items given to the youth included brush cutters, head pans, wheelbarrows, machetes, sprayers, watering cans, brooms, rain booths, buckets, helmets and others.