• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

NYSC: N4000 online registration fee is a rip-off

businessday-icon

National service is a common name for mandatory or volunteer government service programmes. In Nigeria, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, was established in 1973 with amongst other aims to: inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work, and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves;  develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training, which will make them more amenable to mobilisation in the national interest; develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration; and also to develop a sense of corporate existence and common destiny of the people of Nigeria. No doubt, forty-one years after the conception of the NYSC, these objectives are still germane and large and diverse segment of the Nigerian population as well as notable people around the world, have commended its establishment and eulogised its operation and achievements.

However, controversies have trailed the recent introduction of N4,000 online registration fee the NYSC intended to charge prospective corps members. According to the Director-general of the NYSC, Johnson Bamidele Olawumi, the N4,000 fee for the online printing of call-up letters by prospective youth corps members, is actually in the interest of the prospective corps members. While stating that it is optional, he also added that this would save prospective corps members the stress of travelling down to their various schools to get their letters. Furthermore, he stated that the N4,000 is not just for printing call-up letters, but also for the entire package of online registration, which requires the deployment of IT hardware and software and personnel to orientation camps all over the country, which also gives those who subscribe to it the advantage of processing their registration online, saving time during registration at the orientation camps and allowing them to use their thumbprints to identify themselves in case they lose or are dispossessed of their call-up letters.

But the justification for the fee by the NYSC Director General is unacceptable and should be rejected by Nigerians. In the past, call-up letters were produced and distributed through all the relevant institutions and corps members were also registered at all the orientation camps at no cost to the potential corps members. Computerization of the NYSC and its administrative processes is supposed to help in processing data in no time, ensure accuracy and flexibility, reduce paper work, reduce cost in the long run as well as increase efficiency for the organisation. The federal government funds the NYSC from tax payers’ money and it is their responsibility to finance the procurement and deployment of IT infrastructure for the NYSC.

Therefore, whether it is mandatory or optional, it is ridiculous that prospective corps members should be asked to pay N4000 to access their call-up letters or to register online. If any payment at all, it should be charged by cyber cafes for those who do not have private internet facilities.

Beyond the NYSC, some government establishments now extort money from unemployed graduates in the guise of making them pay for online employment applications. Hence, the concept of government institutions and examination bodies asking candidates to pay for their administrative charges or to buy charge-cards to access examination results online has been condoned for too long and should be stopped immediately. Government should stem this impunity as Nigerians can no longer endure the insensitivity of these government establishments.