Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has inaugurated the Special Public Works Programme of the Federal Government in the state.
Inaugurating the programme on Friday in Jos, Lalong, represented by Alhaji Usman Idi, the state Commissioner for Environment, said the programme would address unemployment in the state and country in general.
He added that the programme was also designed by the federal government to tackle other vices among youths, particularly at the rural areas.
“Without doubt, this programme is a great initiative of government to address the challenge of unemployment in the country, especially at the rural areas.
“It is designed to rehabilitate and ensure maintenance of public infrastructure in the country.
“While I congratulate the beneficiaries, I want to urge you to take this as an opportunity to contribute your quarter to the growth and development of your communities and the country in general.
“I urge you to give in your best in this assignment; be committed and diligent in the discharge of your duties because this is a call to national duty,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Mr Rufus Bature, Chairman of the Selection Committee of the programme in the state, said 17,000 skilled and unskilled youths in the state were carefully selected as beneficiaries.
According to him, the launch of the programme has confirmed government’s commitment towards addressing poverty in the rural areas.
He explained that the beneficiaries were drawn from the federal and state electoral wards in the 17 local government areas of the state.
He noted that the monthly stipends of N20,000 for the beneficiaries through the three-month period of the programme, would improve their personal income.
“17,000 beneficiaries have been selected in Plateau; 1,000 from each local government area. We went round the state and despite the hitches; we meticulously ensure that 30 beneficiaries were selected from each state electoral wards and 70 from federal wards.
“This programme will no doubt improve the personal income of the beneficiaries and the revenue profile of the state. Let me say that this programme is not free, the beneficiaries will work to earn the N20,000 at the end of month,” he said.
Bature said that modalities had been put in place to ensure strict supervision, adding that defaulters would not be paid.
In a welcome address, Malam Abubakar Fikpo, the Acting Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), said the programme would also cushion the effect of COVID-19 on Nigerians.
Represented by Mrs Linda Barau, the Assistant Director of Procurement of the organisation, Fikpo said the programme would cover all aspects of public works.
The acting D-G said areas the beneficiaries would work include; maintenance of rural roads, traffic control, street cleaning, solar maintenance, cleaning of public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, among others.