Reactions trail bill on automatic employment for corps members
• Experts seek policies on structural changes in the implementation
A bill that is aimed at amending the current NYSC Act to enable military, paramilitary and other special services recruit willing and qualified graduates immediately after their one-year service programme is generating diverse views amongst experts.
The Bill, which has already passed the first reading was sponsored by Eta Mbora from Cross River State.
According to reports, about 20 million graduates of tertiary institutions are currently unemployed even as this has continued to be on a steady rise.
In separate interviews with The Guardian, Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr. Timothy Olawale, said the motive behind the bill is a welcomed development.
He, however, called for a structural solution through the application of the comprehensive approach in combating unemployment.
Olawale said the bill is a short-term gain in mind, recommending that more coordinated and planned measures should be introduced in labour demand and supply that is subjected to labour market intervention to achieving long term benefits if the bill is later implemented.
He said: “The Bill is a welcome development as it would to an extent, combat the issue of unemployment in the country. While we have no objection to the bill, it would be best to highlight that it will not totally address the growing unemployment crisis among the youths, especially as this initiative is targeted at only a small fraction of the over 20 million unemployed youths in a country with over 200 million people.
“The unemployment issue is largely structural and therefore needs structural solutions and it is grossly inadequate to accommodate the army of unemployed youths. Besides, this programme is conceived with short-term gains in mind, and a little consideration of the long-term perspective that may change the dynamics of unemployment substantially.
“The structural changes needed to involve taking a comprehensive approach to employment in general. This could be done in a way that will not only targets the youths but also looks at educational, training and labour market issues so that dynamic and progressive policy interventions are initiated to address all issues comprehensively.”
Also, the Deputy Secretary-General of United Labour Congress (ULC), Chris Onyeka, said wishes cannot be translated into results until deliberate and appropriate steps are taken to ensure they are attained to avoid a voyeuristic journey.
Onyeka, who said jobs are not created by fiat, urged the lawmaker to take appropriate legislative steps that would help drive the right economic activities capable of helping the nation exit the morass of underdevelopment.
According to him: “The lawmaker would have pursued the serious issue of making laws that would help in reviving our nation’s economy, which will enable the employment of NYSC members.
“The noble objective should go beyond wishes and appropriate legislative steps that would help drive the right economic activities capable of helping the nation exit the morass of underdevelopment should be taken so as to really reduce the unemployment rate.
The labour chief maintained that reducing unemployment ought to be paramount in every governmental actions and programmes.
Onyeka lamented that in Nigeria’s case, lip services are paid to it and have continued to increase over the years with its attendant consequences.
Similarly, when The Guardian sought the views of some serving Youth Corps members, they enjoined the Federal Government to sign the bill into law to encourage youths to embrace education.
A batch B Corps member, Jay Teaz, who welcomed the development, said the Bill would help reduce criminality in the country.
He noted that there should be criteria for graduates to help fit into the stipulated offices, adding that adequate training is required to further improve effective services.