Joe Effiong, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Mr Ukpong Akpabio, has criticised the 774,000 job initiative of the Federal Government, saying that it would encourage laziness among young people without growing the economy.
The commissioner, who spoke to newsmen on Wednesday while on an inspection tour of expansion work at the Dakkada Cottage Industries in Uyo, explained that ‘dashing’ money to young people would not only make them lazy, arguing that the initiative would not achieve its desired result of developing and expanding individual economies.
The commissioner said the Federal Government ought to have used the funds to boost Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), citing the multiplier effect on individuals and the national economy.
‘That money could have been better utilised in growing SMEs,’ Mr Akpan said. ‘For instance, if you use that amount for one local government to boost 100 small businesses in that area do you know the multiplier effect it will have.
‘That 100 SMEs will empower another set of people. Some of the SMEs will not only employ some people, but they will also train some other people and purchase machinery and raw materials from others.
‘Their finished products will also be distributed by another set of people. They are encouraging our young people to be lazy.
‘It is wrong for you to be calling people out to give them palliatives and handouts when the economy needs revival. It is wrong and that was what we suffered in the last administration in this state,’ the commissioner explained.
The Federal Government recently said it would recruit 1,000 itinerant and unskilled workers from each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) in the country from October to December for road rehabilitation, construction, sanitation, among other jobs.
According to Mr Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, ‘this is for the workers to carry out public works that are peculiar to each Local Government Area. They would be paid a total of N60,000 each, that is, N20,000 per month.
‘They would be engaged in road rehabilitation and social housing construction, urban and rural sanitation, health extension and other critical services.
‘Depending on how successful the programme is or how buoyant the Federal Government’s purse is, this programme may either be extended or repeated every year,’ Keyamo had explained.