From Joe Effing, Uyo
Beneficiaries of the Extended Special Public Work (ESPW) programme in Akwa Ibom State have commended the Federal Government for the various job creating programmes aimed at alleviating poverty and making youths employers of labour.
Speaking on behalf of other participants at the Advanced Business Training (ABT) organised by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) through its ESPW programme, Ededem Iko said many people who would have been jobless, are now business owners courtesy of the NDE.
Iko appealed to the Federal Government that the participants were hopeful to get better working capital from the Federal Government to enable them to expand their already existing businesses.
The state co-ordinator of NDE, Mr Promise Ekah, in his address at the flag-off of the Advanced Business Training (ABT) on Tuesday, said a total of 540 graduates are to be trained on various kinds of business in the state by NDE ESPW programme to address the negative effects COVID-19 pandemic wreaked on the economy.
Ekah said such effects included low capacity industrial utiliisation, reduction in labour force, skyrocketing prices of goods and services, among others; but that the programme was a quick wing meant to address the unforeseen circumstances ushered in by COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
‘As a way out of these menaces, the Federal Government introduced this noble programme to stem the tide of unemployment and poverty among youths thus averting social vices that will have inflicted more pains on the population.
‘NDE is an intervention agency of the Federal Government saddled with the responsibility of creating jobs for the unemployed persons. The mandate is utilised using four core programmes. The guiding philosophy of NDE is self-employment rather than wage employment taking into cognisance that white collar jobs are no longer available.
‘NDE Akwa Ibom State has provided jobs for thousands of persons that were hitherto unemployed. We will continue to strategise and restrategise to ensure jobs for all,’ the co-ordinator said.
The Akwa Ibom State Chairman, ESPW Selection Committee, Catherine Eno Udi, said the ABT was a follow-up to the COVID19 774,000 programme in which the participants were given N60,000 grant as business seed capital by the Federal Government.
‘The main reason why they are having all this is to help in opening their small scale businesses and to showcase and train them on their businesses,’ she stated.
Udi said for the programme to be effective, training was on senatorial district basis with each contributing 180 participants. She expressed the hope that the plan by the Federal Government to increase the sum but as interest-free loan to the participants would be a reality.
Joshua Buker, who represented NDE Director General Abubakar Fikpo, said the programme was organised on stages to progressively encourage people to own their businesses and in the process, create jobs and reduce poverty.