By Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJA â€” UNEMPLOYED graduates in the country may soon start earning between N10,000 and N15,000 monthly salaries as a Bill seeking to provide social security for unemployed graduates and the aged scaled through a second reading yesterday at the Senate.
The Bill, entitled “An Act to provide social security for unemployed graduates and aged in Nigeria,” sponsored by Senator Anyim Udeh, has earmarked N12.7 billion for the scheme.
Leading the debate on the floor of the Senate, Senator Udeh said creating social security infrastructure for the aged and the unemployed graduates would curb crimes and other social vices, including reduction of mortality rate.
He said: â€œThe social security Bill is in compliance with section 14 of the 1999 Constitution. It is more so, because over 70 per cent of our people live below poverty level. Creating the social security scheme in which unemployed graduates and the aged will have minimum wage to live on will help tackle the problem of poverty.â€
Disclosing the cost implication of the scheme, Udeh told the Senators that an estimated N77 billion would be needed to run the scheme between 2011 and 2015 if the Bill was passed.
The Bill received the support of the Senators, but most of them warned against the abuse of the scheme and expressed fears on the ability of the Federal Government to implement it.
Senator Grace Bent (PDP, Adamawa South) in her support for the bill, decried the high rate of poverty in Nigeria and absence of social security scheme to address the problems of the less-privileged.
Bent said: â€œNigeria, before now, should have had this sort of legislation. A government that has vision and love for the people at heart should have this legislation. This Bill will solve the social security problems all over the place and reduce mortality rate in the country.â€
Before the second reading of the bill, President of the Senate, Senator David Mark while expressing concern on the rising number of unemployed graduates called for caution in the implementation process.
He said: â€œWe need to worry about the level of unemployment in the country. We need to worry about those going without a dime in their pockets. This Bill is not only for the unemployed graduates or the aged, every Nigerian should be able to have a platform that will guarantee him better living conditions.â€