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Senate moves for compulsory payment of unemployed graduates

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Terhemba Daka, Abuja
12 December 2019   |   4:14 am
The Senate yesterday urged the Federal Government to set up an “Unemployment Fund” from where to pay unemployed graduates and youths stipends until they secure employment.

• Urges emergency declaration on job creation
• To probe PPPRA over alleged unremitted N800b to FERMA
• Buhari harps on conflict resolution for Africa’s development

The Senate yesterday urged the Federal Government to set up an “Unemployment Fund” from where to pay unemployed graduates and youths stipends until they secure employment. It also charged the Ministry of National Planning to “put up mechanisms and programmes that would provide employment for the country’s teeming unemployed graduates/youths at all tiers of government.”Adopting a motion titled “Escalating Rate of Unemployment in the Country” and sponsored by Ike Ekweremadu, the upper legislative chamber equally called on government at all levels to declare emergency on job creation for the youths nationwide.

The former deputy senate president, who raised the alarm at the disturbing unemployment statistics in the country during plenary, said the red chamber should be “concerned that the large numbers of graduates that our high institutions are turning out yearly, but cannot be absorbed by the labour market, are a time bomb waiting to explode.”

He added: “The most pressing demand on the hand of every legislator and public officer is the rising number of curriculum vitae and applications for employments from constituents and Nigerians.”The lawmaker submitted that “a situation where every graduate has to queue for job only in government offices is an indication of the breakdown of the private sector, which is the major driver of world economies.”He expressed worry that “these energies and potential talents that are lying idle and wasting away are usually misdirected towards many unprofitable and harmful ventures and lifestyles.”

Ekweremadu observed that a situation where “most active percentage of the nation’s population is forcefully caged by unemployment from participating in the economic development of their fatherland and contributing towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” was dangerous.He further held: “High level of crimes in any society is most times related to high rate of unemployment.

“Unemployment is one of the major causes of the upsurge in rural-urban migration which puts pressure on facilities at the urban centres.
“Unemployment is one of the major reasons insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, cyber crimes and other vices are on the increase.”Consequently, the Senate enjoined the federal, state and local governments to revive moribund industries, build new ones and provide an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

Besides, Senate President Ahmad Lawan yesterday said the chamber would investigate the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) over alleged non-remittance of N800 billion to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) for the maintenance of highways across the federation.

He dropped the hint during a debate on a bill for an Act to Repeal the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency Act, 2002 and to establish the Federal Roads Authority Bill, 2019.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the resolution of conflicts remains a key component in the overall development of Africa.Speaking yesterday at the opening of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa taking place in Egypt, the president stated: “As Africans, it is important to focus on the issues of conflict prevention and resolution. Conflicts have devastating effects on our societies and they militate against our progress. In this regard, the need to silence the guns cannot be overemphasized.”He equally emphasized that massive investment in transportation infrastructure was necessary for the continent’s economic resurgence to fast-track the African Free Trade Area Agreement.