The Federal Government is initiating policies that would drastically reduce youth unemployment in the country, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has said.
The Minister made this known yesterday while kicking off the Extended Special Public Works (ESPW) Programme in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The programme was designed to employ 1000 persons in each of the local government areas across the federation.
The initiative is an outcome of the Pilot Special Public Works Programme in the rural area approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in early 2020.
Adegbite noted that the pilot programme was initially implemented in eight states of the federation to evaluate its impact on addressing the high rate of unemployment and rising insecurity in some parts of the country.
He said: “This strategy was indeed adopted to fast-track the impact of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020).
“However, with the emergence of the novel coronavirus, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Economic Sustainability Committee(ESC) under the chairmanship of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to craft economic measures to cushion the adverse socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hence the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) was developed with the various core ministries steering the implementation of the approved programmes. It was, therefore, decided to extend and implement the ESPW across all the states of the federation,” Adegbite said.
Minister added that the programme was aimed at shielding the most vulnerable from the ravaging effects of COVID-19 pandemic, which include pervasive hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, and joblessness.
According to him, the target is to engage the 774, 000 selected unemployed Nigerians for the programme to execute selected projects across the 774 local government areas in the country.
“Each participating local government has identified its preferred projects and would be responsible for ensuring that they are executed as planned. It is instructive to mention that all the tools and equipment required have been provided hence the Federal Government expects strong commitment from all stakeholders in ensuring efficient implementation,” Adegbite said.
He further said although the ESPW is short-termed – from January to April 2021- “I am convinced that it will provide the necessary economic palliatives to these 774,000 unemployed youths.
“Furthermore, the youth who diligently participates in the projects implementation may deploy the skills acquired to become self-employed. Still, gthe overnment and the organised private sector may in due course provide exit options,” Adegbite said.
He warned that the Federal Government would monitor the implementation of the programme to ascertain the efficient utilisation of every resource committed to it.