The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has called on the Executive to propose a bill for the establishment of a Trust Fund to provide business start-up capital for corps members.
Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, the NYSC director-general, made the call at a three-day stakeholders symposium organized by the scheme in Abuja.
The symposium was held to discuss the imperatives of establishing an NYSC Trust Fund and also draw attention to the need to set up the fund as soon as possible.
It was organized with the theme “Consolidating the Gains of the NYSC in Youth Empowerment and National Development in the Face of Current Economic Realities: The imperatives of a Trust Fund”.
Ibrahim said if established, the trust fund would help address youth unemployment as corps members provided with business start-up capital, can become employers of labour.
“We have already made this proposal to the Federal Government and we are waiting for response.
“The symposium was held to further cement our position on the need to establish an NYSC Trust Fund, ask the government to support this initiative, and sensitize Nigerians and stakeholders on the aim of the trust fund.
“The scheme introduced the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme to provide corps members with skills that will benefit them after they exit the service.
“NYSC, however, faces the challenge of funding this programme and providing corps members with start-up capital that they can use to start businesses after learning these skills,” Ibrahim said.
The NYSC director-general said to address the challenge, the scheme is, therefore, agitating for the establishment of an NYSC Trust Fund.
He assured that disbursement of funds from the venture and subsequent use by corps members would be strictly monitored by the scheme.
According to Ibrahim, these funds will enable them to establish businesses based on the skills they have acquired. Corps members will not only be the beneficiaries of this Trust Fund as they can take many other Nigerians off the unemployment market.
“Another thing worthy of note is that many of these corps members will establish their businesses in their state of service not their state of origin, thereby promoting national integration and wealth creation.
“The symposium is, therefore, an opportunity for stakeholders to share knowledge and experience on how best the Trust Fund can be conceptualized.
“The outcome of the symposium will be forwarded to the government and we have sent a letter to that effect. I can assure you that once this is achieved, Nigerians will be happy. These corps members will do a lot for our country.
“It is time for Nigerians to appreciate that corps members are doing a lot for our country,” Ibrahim said.
Hon. Yemi Adaramodu, the Chairman, House Committee on Youth and Sports, said that the National Assembly (NASS) will fully support any Trust Fund legislation brought before it for consideration.
“Whatever the NYSC is doing to improve the welfare of corps members and improve the scheme itself, the national assembly will definitely, and compassionately be part of it.
“When this trust fund will be brought before the NASS for legislation, we are promising that we will do justice by ensuring that the bill is expedited and passed,” Adaramodu said.
Ambassador Fatima Abubakar, the Chairman of the NYSC National Governing Board, lauded the initiative of the scheme to hold a symposium as part of efforts to push for the establishment of a Trust Fund.
Abubakar said that despite the challenges the scheme has faced since its establishment, it has lived up to expectations by being creative and innovative.
“For the first time, NYSC is allowing stakeholders to contribute to the ongoing debate on the imperatives of establishing a trust fund for the NYSC.
“The NYSC has always lived up to the expectation of continuously being creative and innovative under the dictates of current situations and by evidence of its numerous achievements over the years.
“These innovations and achievements are not without challenges. Over the years, the NYSC has grappled with myriads of challenges that, unfortunately, have negatively affected some of its operations.
“The idea for the establishment of the NYSC trust fund was arrived at after very many consultations with critical stakeholders, top management of the scheme, and representatives of state governments.
Abubakar expressed optimism that the symposium would provide the platform for the adoption of an operational framework to guide the scheme in the pursuit of the NYSC Trust Fund through stakeholders’ engagement.
“NYSC remains critical in our quest for national cohesion and development. Hence the national governing board will continue to provide the necessary support to the management to accomplish the vision of the scheme, he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the symposium was attended by stakeholders from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), academia, student bodies, the National Youth Council, the media, and traditional rulers.
Representatives from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, and the FCT Administration also attended the symposium. (NAN)