By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Hope is underway for Nigerian youths who are Entrepreneurs as a Bill seeking to create Fund to provide financial support for them to reduce unemployment in the country passes second reading at the House of Representatives.
Titled “A Bill for an Act to make Provision for Establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund and a Management Team to Administer the Funds; and for Related Matters,” it is sponsored by Hon. Farah Dagogo representing Degema/ Bonny Federal Constituency of Rivers State.
In his lead debate on the general principle of the bill, Dagogo said that the bill when eventually passed into law would facilitate the setting up of a Trust Fund that will serve as a catalyst and provide financial succour for the youths.
He said: “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.
“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.
“The ‘Youth Fund’ will not only diminish unemployment and the social vices that characterize the Nigerian society today, but would also serve as a strong indicator that the country is very particular about its youths and has them in its plan. The Nigerian state needs to protect its own – the youth – who arguably constitutes more than half of the country’s population and are the future leaders.
“There is no gainsaying that the youth 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 the society. This bill intends to cure those ills.”
The lawmaker hinted that the sources of revenue will not be less than 5 percent of the capital estimates in the annual budget.
“We are proposing that sources of revenue would not be less than five per cent of the capital estimates in the Appropriation Act of every year and profits accruing periodically from approved investments made out of the capital in the Youth Fund. We are also bringing in private entities to contribute to the Youth Fund.
“Consequently and mandatorily, they would contribute about one per cent of profit as declared and other revenue legitimately accruing to the Fund by means not provided for in the bill. 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”, he said.