Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation flanked by Dr Kenneth Ugbala, Ebonyi SSG and Mrs Ann Aligwe, Commissioner for Human Empowerment.
The Federal Government (FG) on Monday in Abakaliki inaugurated the Extended Special Public Works Programme (ESPWP), in Ebonyi.
It added that the programme has a three-month life span.
Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation inaugurated the programme in Abakaliki on behalf of the Federal Government.
Onu said that the programme was part of strategies by President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce hardship and suffering among the Nigerian youths.
He said that under the programme, participants would help to maintain public works owned by federal, state and local governments.
The minister said that no fewer than 13000 participants selected from across the 13 local government areas of Ebonyi were taken part in the programme.
“The COVID-19 pandemic which gripped the whole world last year resulted in an enormous economic dislocation in the country.
“This further aggravated the unemployment problem as many factories and businesses were closed in an effort to reduce the spread of the disease.
“Mr President in his determination to reduce hardship and suffering induced by economic lockdown, took a decision to offer assistance to as many as 1000 unemployed youths in every LGA in the country.
“Here in Ebonyi, as many as 13,000 youths will benefit from this programme which aim is to help in mainatainance of public works of the various levels of governments,” Onu said.
He noted that work to be done in each LGA might be different but on the whole the end result would be to ensure that public works were properly and adequately maintained.
Onu charged stakeholders and members of the Ebonyi ESPWP committee to ensure that projects identified for execution were effeciently implemented.
“Since all the tools and equipment required to execute these projects have been provided, FG expects a strong commitment from all stakeholders in ensuring efficient implementation.
“It’s expected that both the knowledge and skills acquired in the execution of these projects will be helpful in making participants become self-employed later in the future,” he added.
Onu further urged private sector to show interest in employing the participants after they had acquired additional knowledge and skills in the process of implementing this programme.
He assured that FG would closely monitor the implementation of the programme to determine how effeciently the resources, both human and material invested were utilized.
Earlier, Gov. Dave Umahi in a goodwill message said that the works programme would take youths out of the streets and reduce crime.
He commended Buhari for his pro-people economic empowerment programmes and policies adding that state government would assist the programme to succeed.
Umahi represented by Chief Kenneth Ugbala, Secretary to State Government (SSG) described Buhari as a man with good character and content who has taken Nigeria to an enviable height.
“This special programme will really take our youths out of the streets because we know that when our youths are productivity engaged, they will think less of crime.
“We want to thank Mr President and his team for this beautiful initiative and urge participants to make good use of the wonderful opportunity,” Umahi said.
Meanwhile, Malam Abubakar Nuhu, Acting Director-General, National Directorate of Employment (NDE) expressed confident that the proper implementation of the programme would contribute significantly to the upliftment and provision of succour to unemployed Nigerians.
Nuhu, represented by Dr Michael Mbata, a director in the Directorate appealed to Nigerians living within the benefitting communities to coorperate with participants and officials as they go about their duties.