By Adedayo Akinwale
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, Tuesday inaugurated the Extended Special Works Programme aimed at engaging 7,074 youths across the federation.
Declaring the official commencement of the programme on behalf of the federal government in Minna, Niger State, Dada said the special extended works was the outcome of the pilot Special Public Works Programmes in the rural areas approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in eight states.
The minister, in a statement issued Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Ibrahim Aliyu, said with the outbreak of novel Covid-19 pandemic, the president directed the Economic Sustainability Committee under the Chairmanship of the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to craft economic measures to cushion the adverse effects of Covid-19, hence the extension of the public works programmes to cover all the 774 local government areas of the federation.
According to him, in Niger State, 25,000 beneficiaries were selected from all the local governments that made up the state. Each participating local government has identified its preferred projects and will be responsible for ensuring full execution as planned.
Dada urged the youths to utilise the opportunity given them, while assuring them that the federal government would closely monitor the implementation of the programme to ascertain the efficient utilisation of every resources committed to the programme.
Also, the Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (Sgzg, Alhaji Ahmad Matane, called on all the local government chairmen in the state and other stakeholders to provide all the necessary support with a view to making the programme a successful one.
He expressed optimism that within the duration of the programme, participants would be able to acquire skills thereby becoming self-reliant.