• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Senate moves to establish unemployment benefit scheme

Nigeria’s unemployment rate in focus as US rate hold looms

The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill for second reading that seeks to establish a National Internship and Unemployment Benefit Scheme.

The bill, which was sponsored by Salisu Afolabi, the Senator representing Ogun Central, aims to offer unemployed graduates in Nigeria some part-time jobs where they can gain experience and earn stipends.

The Bill intends to create a database of unemployed Nigerian youths, particularly graduates, with their respective disciplines. It will also establish a framework that will guide the provision of part-time jobs for youths while they search for full-time jobs.

Leading debate on the Bill during plenary on Wednesday, Afolabi stated that the scheme, when established, would provide hope for graduates and allow them to acquire experience before they secure full-time employment.

Afolabi argued that the scheme would help address insecurity and criminal activities that are a result of unemployment.

He also acknowledged existing agencies such as the National Directorate of Employment and the Industrial Trust Fund but noted that they have not been targeted adequately to the beneficiaries. He believes that the scheme, which will have a database, will be more effective in streamlining interventions to the beneficiaries.

Conversely, Ahmed Wadada, the Senator representing Nasarawa West, argued during the debate that although the bill is essential, it may not be the solution needed to tackle unemployment. He believes that the focus should be on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and consequently create jobs.

“If the environment is enabling enough to up to 10 Dangote,  the rate of unemployment will be reduced to the barest minimum. The emphasis at all times should be to create the needed enabling environment”, he said.

Ayogu Eze, the Senator representing Enugu North, also contributed to the debate, stating that the government does not have to wait until the enabling environment is created. He described the unemployment rate in the country as “pathetic” and suggested that the National Youth Service Corp Scheme could be expanded to cover the unemployment scheme.

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He decried that youths are impoverished and that some wander for jobs until they pass the employment age, which is a situation that needs urgent intervention.

“In my constituency, I face a barrage of demands for jobs.  Our youths are impoverished. Some wander for jobs until they pass the employment age. It is an emergency situation. It should not be suspended until the enabling environment is created”, Eze said.