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Growing job concerns among graduating youth corps members amid COVID-19

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Although members of the Batch B, Stream II of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), are looking forward to their passing out, there is growing fear of getting a job as COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the economic landscape.

They expressed concern, especially with the novel COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, when many companies are downsizing, cutting salaries and even unable to pay workers for months due to low financial inflow.
 
The announcement spurred mixed reactions among passing out Corps members, who seemed not to be ready due to uncertainties and the economic uncertainty facing Nigeria at this time.
 
For instance, a Corps member, Olushola told The Guardian that she is not ready to pass out as she does not know where to go.She said: “I am a serving Corps member in one of the private schools in Lagos. I had hope of being retained until my hope was dashed because of the infectious virus that led to the present lockdown.”

 
When The Guardian sought the views of some labour experts, they argued that considering the current state of the economy, which is gradually nose-diving due to the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment rate would worsen, considering the precarious situation and number of unemployed graduates already in search of jobs.
 
Specifically, Director-General of NECA, Dr. Timothy Olawale, said as the global and particularly the country’s economy is undergoing severe challenges due to the impact of COVID-19; there would be challenges in meeting obligations.
  
Olawale, who noted that businesses are already confronted with tough choices that bother on their operations and survival, expressed worry that Corps members are completing their service at a time when the world is currently ravaged by a deadly virus that affects every facet of human life, particularly, the labour market.
  
He urged governments to rise to the occasion and assist the private sector to stay afloat by providing the necessary palliatives to help them to remain in operation, in order to assist in creating jobs for the youths.
 
Additionally, Olawale called for a more coordinated strategy in salvaging jobs and enterprise in the wake of the possible job losses. Deputy Secretary-General of the United Labour Congress (ULC), Chris Onyeka, advised the Federal Government to adopt a strategy that is coherent and synchronised across all spectrum of the country.
 
He said the employability of the new entrants would be more difficult than before given the fact that jobs were scarce before, and has now become even more so.

He said: “If schools could be closed including government and private businesses because of the pandemic, I wonder why the passing out parade can also not be put on hold until the coast is clearer.
 
“What they want to avoid is the continued payment of allowances to the concerned Corps members instead of the benefits not just to the Corps members but also to our economy.”


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