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Reps consider bill to establish youth trust fund to tackle unemployment

Reps consider bill to establish youth trust fund to tackle unemployment
December 08
16:34 2021

A bill seeking to establish a youth entrepreneurship development trust fund to tackle unemployment has passed second reading at the house of representatives.

The proposed legislation, which is sponsored by Farah Dagogo, a lawmaker from Rivers state, also seeks to earmark for the fund about five percent capital estimate from the federation account appropriated for the fiscal year.

Nigeria’s unemployment rate has been a worrying concern and analysts have attributed it to the rising insecurity in the country.

In March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that Nigeria’s unemployment rate climbed to 33.3 percent in the fourth quarter (Q4) 2020 from 27.1 percent recorded in the second quarter (Q2) 2020.

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The NBS had said a total of 23.18 million persons in Nigeria either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed during the fourth quarter (Q4) 2020.

According to his explanatory memorandum, Dagogo said the bill will provide financial support to youths with entrepreneurship skills and it would serve as a vehicle for socio-economic security.

He said when passed into law, the legislation will establish a board to manage investments that will form part of the fund.

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“This bill, to me, is one of the catalysts that would stem the tide of some of the hostilities we are currently experiencing in this nation, especially from the youths of our great country, who represent about half of our entire population and over 40% of whom are currently unemployed or under-employed, but are no doubt referred to as the emerging leaders of the nation,” he said.

“This bill seeks to create a fund which shall be used to provide financial support for Nigerian youths with entrepreneurship skills, and provide a vehicle for assured socio-economic security as well as galvanise them to become self-reliant, employers of labour and captains of industry.

“There is no gainsaying that the youths have been obliterated. We have a colony of them suffering from unemployment or underemployment and the state is aware and not oblivious of this fact. Year in and out, thousands of Nigerian youths are churned out of tertiary institutions but the state does not have enough carrying capacity to empty them into. This is indeed a big challenge because the idle mind would always be the devil’s workshop. This fact has led to the pendency of crimes and criminality in society; this bill intends to cure those ills.

“We are also bringing in private entities to contribute to the youth fund. Consequently and mandatorily, they would contribute about one percent of profit as declared and other revenue legitimately accruing to the fund by means not provided for in the bill.

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“Importantly, the youth fund shall be managed by the youths. Thus, they would people the board. There would be fiscal responsibility that engenders transparency and accountability because relevant sections in the bill have been proposed to address these issues.”

The bill was not debated by the lawmakers and was voted for when it was put to a voice vote by Idris Wase, deputy speaker of the house.

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