The Presidency, on Thursday, announced that with the release of about N288billion out of the N500 billion appropriated for COVID-19 intervention programmes under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), at least 2.1 million jobs have been saved.
A statement issued by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President, said the jobs include new ones created, while over 4000 kilometres of federal and rural roads are at least 30% completed since the commencement of the ESP.
The statement said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who presided over Thursday’s meeting of the ESP at the presidential villa, Abuja, noted that considerable progress recorded.
He affirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to look out for the Nigerian people, and urged members of the committee “to bear in mind that the vast majority of our people are not allowed to suffer.”
According to the statement, ministers and heads of agencies executing the ESP reported significant improvement in the implementation of the plan, as the Federal Government ramps up funding for projects across sectors to impact more Nigerians. Already more than 50% of the appropriated sum for the ESP has been released.
Under the Survival Fund scheme specifically, 1.3 million jobs have been saved, and another 774,000 jobs created from the Public Works Programme. This is apart from the total 26,021 jobs created from construction and rehabilitation works.
Other highlights include the release of 100 per cent (i.e. N5bn) appropriation for the COVID-19 Aviation intervention; 50 per cent funding (N26bn) for the Public Works scheme hiring 774,000 persons across the country, among others.
Commenting on the reports presented by ESC members at the meeting, Prof Osinbajo said: “I think that it will be fair to say that on account of the very good work that you all have done, we were able to get out of recession much faster than anyone would have imagined, although only marginally.”
Urging ministers and heads of agencies implementing key programmes of government not to rest on their oars, the Vice President noted that “it is important for us to continually bear in mind that we really have a duty to ensure that the vast majority of our people are not allowed to suffer. So, I feel we should be thinking more about the next thing that we need to do.”
In digital skills support for youth and women, anchored by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba, reported that N1.5b which is 50 per cent of the amount appropriated for the scheme primarily targeted for job creation has been released to the ministry.
He added that priority programmes for the intervention are the training of 600 youths (100 from each of the 6 geo-political zones) on VSAT technologies who will also be supported with laptops and stipends.
The Minister noted that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has received N625 million (representing 50% of appropriated funds) to implement an empowerment scheme for women through capacity building in innovation and vocational training.
For the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, the Minister said N2.6 billion representing 50 per cent appropriation was released for implementation of youth employability improvement scheme
The Minister also reported that the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development received N2.45 billion representing 7.5 per cent of N32.45 billion for cash transfer to the poor and vulnerable, while the balance of N30 billion is being processed.
In the works sector, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said a total number of 4,350 direct jobs were recalled and 18,321 indirect jobs were created through the engagement of the contractors and suppliers handling different works across the country