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#5000 stipend for selected unemployed Nigerians not the way to go

22 December 2015, 15:24 Hussain Obaro

In line with their campaign promises, the APC led administration of Muhammadu Buhari is on the verge of fulfilling one of it’s pledge to Nigerians if the words of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the 10th year anniversary lecture of Crescent University in Abeokuta during which he assured that selected unemployed and very poor Nigerians would be paid the sum of #5000 monthly ones the programme commence is anything to go by. One of the fundamental problems we have had about governance since independence, especially since our return to democracy in 1999 is that of continuity of policies and programmes. However, how successful or people oriented a programme a project is, it is quickly jettisoned and abandoned by a new administration, as such policies and programmes are regarded as the legacy of the past government. Among other safety net programmes promised by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, the #5000 proposed to be paid to selected unemployed and very poor in the country was meant to replace the graduate internship scheme GIS and similar programs of the immediate past administration.

The GIS which was one of the component of the subsidy re-investment and empowerment programme SURE-P commenced in October, 2012 and was implemented through the federal ministry of finance with a mandate to provide short-term employment for graduates. The scheme created opportunity for selected graduates, to be attached to firms/organisations where they were supposed to work for a year and enjoy a monthly allowance of #18,000. Such interns were supposed to use the opportunity to gain working experience to enhance their employability. The project which has so far matched over 200 firms already had about 85,000 graduates that have registered with the scheme, even through majority of them were yet to be absolved. Nigerian graduates have shown tremendous interest in the project by registering beyond the threshold of 50,000 allotted for the scheme in any given year.

The questions are; how far can a party sum of #5000 lift anyone from poverty and hunger within a month? How would the government determine or ensure that only unemployed and real poor Nigerians have access to this social safety funds? Would the government use it discretion to categorize people as poor or would it be up to poor Nigerians to signify that they belong to the class? Is it really in the best interest of the nation’s economy to dish out money to Nigerians without making them productive? Going by the present economic realities , I don’t think #5000 can make any change in the lives of youths who should be given jobs and oppurtunities to add their quota to nation building, apart from adding to their already complicated pitiful plight by leading to an increased inflation in the prices of goods and services in the market. This would be inevitable because the market women and service providers are also Nigerians who listens to the news and watches every policy and programme of government.

Findings from the unsuccessful immigration recruitment exercise, during which some Nigerians lose their lives, revealed that about 60% of those who applied and enlisted for the recruitment exercise were actually working class people, many of whom were already on the employment of either the federal, states, local councils or the private sector. Going by this revelation, it would be extremely difficult for the government to ensure that the proposed funds meant for selected unemployed and very poor Nigerians do not get into wrong hands. One of the problems associated with the Nigerian civil service has remained that of low productivity, which has adversely affected the economy in all ramification. Hence, it would be tantamount to adding to this problem by asking Nigerian vibrant, agile and brilliant unemployed youths to sit in their houses and earn N5000 monthly without making them productive to the nation.

The APC manifesto was good for winning elections, it is now time for it to be changed, altered and amended to suit governance, the realities on ground and the yearnings of Nigerians. To this end, the GIS programme of the immediate past administration should rather be looked into, amended, expanded to accommodate unemployed non-graduates in Nigeria and improved upon in order to make it more result oriented and transparent. Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, in one of the town hall meetings held in Calabar before the general elections, admitted that the greatest problem of the Nigerian unemployed is that of employability rather than absence of jobs. This is the reason why the GIS which already provided an avenue for the unemployed to attach themselves to registered firms/organizations for a specific duration, during which they would acquire employable skills and even become self-employed should be adopted, while the national directorate of employment NDE which is currently a conduit pipe for corrupt officials be strengthened and reformed. 

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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