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Senate considers removing age limit for graduate employment

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• Insists 13 years embargo created backlogs
• Approves N169b 2020 budget for FIRS

The Senate, yesterday, asked the Federal Government to direct the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity to set up a committee to review age barrier and create jobs for Nigerian graduates in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

This followed concerns over the teeming unemployed graduates in the country amid Federal Government’s 13-year embargo on employment.

In a motion of urgent national importance to reduce age barriers for job seekers during recruitment and employment exercise moved by Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC Sokoto), the Senate moved to review the age limit for employment upwards.

In his argument, Senator Gobir, who represents Sokoto East Senatorial district, said the age barrier had prevented many qualified Nigerian graduates from securing employment in government agencies.

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He noted that due to high unemployment rate in Nigeria, graduates spend over 10 years seeking jobs, which put them in a disadvantaged position with their peers in other climes, adding that some of them falsify their years of birth to fall within the age limit to be employed.

On his part, Senator Bala Ibn N’allah said the motion was apt and timely, stressing, “I think the legal basis for the Senate to proceed on the motion lies in the fact that as an institution, we must consider the fact the Federal Government placed embargo on employment for over 13 years.

“So that period of embargo should be considered in the review. For instance, if the age limit is 23, we will add the 13 or 14 years of embargo on employment to the age already benchmarked for securing jobs, because it is the government that placed embargo on employment.”

N’allah argued that there could not be any justification for government to place embargo on jobs and expect graduates to remain stagnant at the age they were during the embargo period.

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, supported the motion that age limit, which shut out unemployed graduates and subjected them to discrimination was not their own fault.

“They said age limit for employment is 30 years. Meanwhile, someone graduated 10 years earlier. I urge the Ministry of Labour and Employment to act immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, following the consideration of the report of Senate Committee on Finance, chaired by Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West), the lawmakers approved N168.8b to fund the proposed Personnel, Overhead and Capital expenditure cost of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the 2020 fiscal year.

It also approved a one-off special purpose intervention fund of N100b to assist the FIRS complete its head office, six training schools, 30 prototype tax operations office, purpose-built facilities for efficient taxation of upstream petroleum industry and Information and Communication (ICT) infrastructure to identify and track digital transactions.

Adeola explained that N1.56tr was projected as oil revenue, while N4.502tr was targeted from non-oil revenue, amounting to N6tr.

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