A proposed legislation for a Youth Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund, which is expected to provide financial support to Nigerian youths with entrepreneurship skills, has been considered to be crucial to solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
The envisioned legislation titled, “Youth Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund Bill”, sponsored by Hon. Doctor Farah Dagogo, member representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency, of Rivers State, was conceived in recognition of the enormous potentials of the teeming Nigerian youths, which constitute over 55 per cent of the country’s population and many of whose budding talent have not been effectively harnessed for the socio-economic growth and development of the country.
At a well attended one-day Public Hearing on the Bill, which took place, Thursday, at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, coordinated by the House of Representatives Committee on Youth Development, the proposed law for youths to be beneficiaries of five percent of the country’s capital estimates in the Appropriation Act, every year,received overwhelming support from the public.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by the majority leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the 9th House of Representatives was desirous of providing legislations that would have long lasting positive effects on the well being of the youths.
Sponsor of the Bill, Farah Dagogo, pointed out that while Nigerian youths have the capacity to effectively and significantly contribute to the nation’s development, constraining factors that are largely economical in nature, have contributed to the stifling of these positive potentials from “this significant group of the populace.”
He said such challenges might not be unconnected to the negative vices by some of the youths to plug these economic gaps, thus bringing about some level of instability in the polity and system of the country.
“What went wrong with Nigerian youths, and how can we reverse the trend to galvanize them to become more functional and pivotal of entrepreneurial change? Here lies the essence of this Bill. This Bill is monumental, colossal, titanic and a roadmap for safe guarding the future of Nigerian youths. When passed, it would provide the necessary panacea on how to re-invent the economy and jettison poverty with youths taking the lead as tigers of revolution,” Dagogo said.
The Federal Lawmaker posited that the proposed Youth Fund’s aim was to concretely tackle these issues at its root causes by making readily available and accessible a dedicated Trust Fund to which statutory accruable resources will be paid into, administered by a statutory body, and devoted strictly to advancing economic facilities to youths for theirentrepreneurship and skills development.
“In the Bill, 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,” Dagogo explained.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Yemi Adaramodu, lauded the sponsor of the Bill and dismissed claims that youths have been catered for in various youth programmes, pointing out that “the so called intervention programme” were not backed by law and as such difficult to monitor.
A Professor in the Department of History and International Studies, Kogi State University, Professor Patrick Ukase, expressed joy that there is a consensus on youth unemployment and an urgent need to arrest the situation with the idea surrounding the bill.
Similarly, Professor Sam Otamiri of Ignatius Ajuru University, Rivers State, described the bill as an idea that should be encouraged to see reality, maintaining that the bill was a clear solution to the problems of youth unemployment.
A statement by Ibrahim Lawal, special assistant, Media and Publicity to Hon. Doctor Farah Dagogo, made available to newsmen, Thursday, indicated that others who spoke in glowing terms about the bill included Professor Peter Mbah of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Professor Tamuno Dappa of the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State and Dr. Tony Egobueze of Rivers State University.
They were in unison that the bill, if fully implemented, would afford politicians, lecturers and others avenue to sleep with their two eyes closed.
However, the director, Kaduna Study Centre, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Umar Aminu, described the allocation of 5 per cent capital of the country’s annual Capital Appropriation and one percent profit from the private sector as ‘being over ambitious’.
He, nevertheless, supported the other aspects of the bill, saying if passed into law and implemented, it would serve as a major pillar for the country’s development and ultimately its economy.