The Federal Government has approved the release of N1.5 billion for Delta State from the N46.4 billion meant for beneficiaries of its Extended Special Public Works Programme (ESPW).

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), stated this yesterday during the inauguration of the programme at the PTI Conference Centre, Effurun, Delta State.

Those engaged in the programme will receive N20,000 per month and N60,000 for three months.

“For your information, the President has graciously released to us for the payment of stipends the sum of N46.4 billion. And we are ready to pay the stipends.

“For Delta State alone, the sum of N1.59 billion has been released. This money will inflate the economy at the grassroots level.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the programme is not designed for the clearing of grasses and digging of gutters or drainage system, but the provision of diverse services tailored to the maintenance of public infrastructure, among others.

“It is equally important to state that another underlying objective of this programme is to cushion the negative effect of COVID-19 pandemic,” Keyamo said.

The minister said it was the first time in the history of the country that 1,000 persons were targeted at the local government level for engagement.

He urged participants to apply themselves “diligently to the tasks”, stressing that the project implementation would be monitored.

Keyamo explained that the jobs would not be “intensive” as he hinted that there might be other plans by the President for the beneficiaries at the end of the three months.

Acting Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mallam Abubakar Fikpo, urged beneficiaries to give their best.

“The project should be embraced without hesitation by the participants of this first batch. Benefitting communities should support the beneficiaries,” he said.

Delta State committee chairman, Prof. Kelly Ejumudo, said the state will wear a new look “because every ward in the state will be touched by this programme”.

A beneficiary, Robert Eshemidomi, who is a tiler, said: “Since COVID-19 began, the job stopped coming and things have been difficult.

“I am very happy. I expect that after the three months, the President will extend the programme.”