— Flags Off BTT, SYOB workshops in Ebonyi North, Central, South zones

The Extended Special Public Works Program (ESPWP) is the initiative of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration, through the Federal Ministry of State for Labour and Employment, headed by Hon. Minister Festus Keyamo (SAN) with the aim of creating job opportunities for the unemployed graduates and none graduates at the grassroots and the sole target to empower about 774,000 people across the 774,000 LGAs in the Country.

In Ebonyi State, over thirteen thousand unemployed youths have benefitted from the program and thus, 1000 persons per LGA have received 60,000 Naira, Which is over 780 million naira so far spent, for services rendered in the areas of public concern, such as cleaning of drainage system amongst others.

The Chairman of Ebonyi State Selection Committee, Architect Dr. Edward Nkwegu (EDON) on Thursday led a team of supervisors from the National Directorate Of Employment (NDE) to Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone, which comprises of Afikpo North, Afikpo South, Ohoazara, Onicha and Ivo LGAs.

Architect Nkwegu, who also serves as the representative of the Hon. Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo at the ongoing campaign by the Federal government trained beneficiaries of the Extended Special Public Works (ESPW) as part of exit program on areas of specialized skill acquisition and financial management.

He has also led the supervisory team to other areas of the state to sensitize the beneficiaries of the program on Basic Business Training (BTT) and Start Your Own Business (SYOB) as a part of exit plan for the beneficiaries.

The workshop honoured by different resource persons was kicked off on Monday at Nkaleke, the Abakaliki Local Government Headquarters, for the beneficiaries of Ebonyi North.

This program was further taken to Ebonyi Central on Wednesday, while the grand finale of the Flag off campaign, ended at the Southern zone of the state at Afikpo North Local Government, Headquarters on Thursday.

Participants during their training

While speaking during the event, EDON urged the members, participants and critical stakeholders to be constantly understanding the program, saying that it has a serious patriotic national assignment.

He described the program as one of the best programs of President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration for the lowly, weak and vulnerable people in the society, and urged all the critical stakeholders in Ebonyi State to treat it as such.

According to EDON: “the essence of this program is to educate the beneficiaries on the need to utilize the opportunity given to them by learning new things and maintaining a good finincial discipline.

“The major aim of the training is to imact self-sustainable knowledge into the participants. Knowledge is the new money and we should understand that the major causes of poverty are ignorance and lack of financial education.

“People go to school for a better life after their studies, yet they learn little about money and self-sustaining. People of all races struggle for money and when it comes to money, most people are insane,

“When it comes to money, most people repeat their mistakes over and over again, the mistake of spending more than they earn, trying to reap where they did not sow.”

The highlight of the event in all the locations as monitored by i-Turning Point Newspaper , is the extension of the program into an annual scheme, which received laudable ovations by the participants who expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Hon. Minister’s team led by Architect Edward Okereke Nkwegu (EDON).

However, the Director General of NDE, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu, Mercel, said, the significance of the Extended Special Public Works cannot be overemphasized as many lives have been empowered across the country, adding that the inclusion of finincial institutions where beneficiaries are required to have a Bank account and Bank Verification Number, BVN, to recieve payment is to further encourage them to save money.

He urged them to take advantage and utilize the opportunity for their financial stability.

In Ebonyi North, the Chairman of Selection Committee, Rt Hon. Godwin Jioke, who commended the Federal government for the initiative as well EDON, said the selection process was transparent and in accordance to the directions of the Ministry of labour.

Also, the Chairman of Ezza South Local Government Area, Engr Ken Eze, commended the Federal government for initiating the program to accommodate the less privileged persons in the grassroots and said he is optimistic that the program will reduce the poverty index in the country if sustained.

He commended the selection committee especially on its transparent conduct and accommodation of all the wards and pooling units, where the most vulnerable persons live in the state.

It could be recalled that the Chairman of Afikpo North LGA, Barr. Oby Oko Anyim, who was represented by her Vice, Mrs Patricia Obila, noted the development as an opportunity to empower the people at the grassroots and expressed optimism that the beneficiaries will utilize the opportunity.

Some of the beneficiaries, Orife Ukamaka, Nwali Ogechi from Ezza South LGA, her counterpart from Afikpo North – Mrs Otuu Ifeanyi and numerous others thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for initiating the program to benefit the grassroots and lauded the State Selection Committee Chairman, EDON for his transparency in coordinating the process.