NEWS

Centre, NGOs propose creation of NYSC trust fund

….canvass two years period

The Federal Government and National Assembly have been urged to create a trust fund for the National Youth Service Corps scheme to enhance job creation and reduce unemployement.

This was part of the recommendations of the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency as well as Nigeria First after a one-day round table analysing the gains, challenges and prospects of the scheme for national unity.

In a communique co-signed by Richard Augustine Adie, Chairman,
Communique Drafting Committee, Stella Osso (secretary) and Usman Abubakar (member), over 250 members of the centre and NGO unilaterally agreed that a trust fund would lead to a seamless transition from corp members to business owners and employers of labour.

The group also recommended an extension to the service year from one to two to allow corp members utilize the various skills and entrepreneurship development initiatives introduced by the scheme.

According to the group, the NYSC has immensely contributed to the growth and development of the country, catering for a critical segment of the young population.

It also acknowledged that the scheme has evolved over the years to a hub for skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development which has transformed the lives of corp members in ways too numerous to mention.

The communique also hailed the NYSC leadership for being innovative and responsive, which has translated to an overall improvement in the affairs of the exercise.

The group, however, urged the FG to emulate the NYSC’s Skills and Entrepreneurship Development Initiative as a national template to empower Nigerians at the grassroots level in the quest for growth and development.

Read full communique below:

Introduction:

The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, in collaboration with Nigeria First, convoked a one-day round table to discuss the National Youth Service Corps with regards to its contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

Members were drawn from both organizations and were divided into committees to examine the following: Gains of the NYSC, Challenges of the NYSC, and Prospects of the NYSC in uniting the country in modern-day Nigeria.

Members deliberated rigorously and were exhaustive in their approach given the sensitivity of the issues at hand regarding the relevance of the NYSC scheme in the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

The Deliberations:

The meeting had in attendance over 250 persons drawn from various civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations, which deliberated in committees and reported their findings at the plenary at the end of the roundtable.

The Gains of the NYSC:

Members were able to identify that the NYSC as a scheme is indeed beneficial and has contributed immensely to the growth and development of Nigeria in the sense that it strategically caters for a critical segment of the country-youths. The one-year service period serves as that bridging gap for youths in their transition into adulthood.

It was also identified that the NYSC has evolved over the years to a hub for skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development which has transformed the lives of corp members in ways too numerous to mention.

It was also identified that the NYSC, through its various interventions, has served the purpose of national stability and unity as corp members have used the NYSC opportunity to understand the religious and ethnic plurality in Nigeria. Corp members have also contributed vigorously in critical sectors in Nigeria, such as health, education and agriculture.

It identified the numerous contributions of the NYSC in the health sector to include the provision of medical services in government hospitals in rural and urban areas, the provision of ad-hoc services in critical assignments of national interests, such as during election periods, during immunizations, national examinations, and many more areas.

It was also identified that NYSC had contributed immensely to reducing unemployment in the country through its various youth empowerment initiatives that have transformed our youths into employers of labour. This has helped reduce unemployment in the country as most of the trained and equipped corps members have imbibed the spirit of entrepreneurship against the usual unending wait for white-collar jobs. The youths have also succeeded in employing their fellow youth in their established businesses. They also serve as sources of inspiration to others.

The Challenges:

The committee, after extensive deliberation, identified that the NYSC is indeed challenged in some areas which include, the issue of ensuring the safety of corps members throughout the service year, the funding of its various skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development initiatives.

There is also the challenge of corp members engaging in acts outside the scope of their service engagements. In some instances, the consequences are unpleasant, and the NYSC takes the blame for such errant behaviors.

Prospects for the Unity of Nigeria:

The committee deliberated on the NYSC and its prospects for the unity of Nigeria. There was a unanimous decision that the NYSC as a scheme is indeed relevant to the scheme of things in this critical point of our existence as a country.

By posting corpers to unfamiliar places to interact with people from different backgrounds, the NYSC brings together Nigerian youths from diverse socio-economic and ethno-religious backgrounds. This helps bridge the ethnic and religious divisions in the nation by providing exposure to other ethnic groups, which is a positive step towards building a stronger nation.

It was also agreed that the NYSC aids social integration by providing opportunities for cross-cultural interaction that has led to inter-tribal marriages, helping to reduce inter-ethnic stereotypes and suspicions. NYSC also fosters patriotism among Nigerian youths; participation is regarded as obeying the clarion call to serve the fatherland.

Conclusion:

At the end of the one-day round table, participants made presentations on their findings at the plenary. Participants were unanimous in agreement with regards to the strategic importance of the NYSC scheme in Nigeria. The gains identified outnumbered the challenges facing the scheme. Therefore it was agreed that the efforts of the leadership of the NYSC have been outstanding in the past few years.

The various innovations in the scheme were also noteworthy in critical areas such as health, education and agriculture, which resulted in the following recommendations:

Recommendation/Commendation:

The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, in collaboration with Nigeria First, at the end of the one-day roundtable in the assessment of the NYSC scheme, as a result of this make the following recommendations:

That an amendment seeking an extension of service year from one to two years to allow corp members utilize the various skills and entrepreneurship development initiatives introduced in the scheme.

That there is an urgent need for the presidency as well as the national assembly to begin the process of establishing a Trust Fund for the NYSC and to be backed by law to serve as the hub for socio-economic development to finance business initiatives of corp members during their service year.

The establishment of the NYSC Trust Fund would catalyze job creation and the reduction of unemployment. It would afford a seamless transition from corp members to business owners and employers of labour. It would ease the pressure on the already overstretched public sector. It would open more opportunities in the private sector, and Nigeria would experience sustainable growth and development.

The government should emulate the NYSC Skills and Entrepreneurship Development Initiative as a national template to empower Nigerians at the grassroots level in the quest for growth and development.

The leadership of the NYSC has been innovative and responsive, which has translated to an overall improvement in the affairs of the NYSC.

That the supervisory Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has provided credible leadership towards achieving the overarching objectives of the NYSC.

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