The House of Representatives has defeated a bill seeking to provide monetary incentives to unemployed graduates. The bill for an Act to amend the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) laws, 2004 by creating specific functions and objectives to cater for unemployed graduates of tertiary institutions failed to scale second reading as it was defeated by voice vote.
Sponsor of the bill, Arua Arunsi (PDP, Abia), said the objective of the bill is to design and implement programmes to combat mass unemployment of graduates between 18 and 35 years and also between third to fifth year of post graduation experience.
He said the bill is also seeking to pay certain amount of allowance to the unemployed graduates.
However, the antagonists of the bill said the provisions of the bill failed to meet the critical criterion of filling gaps inherent in the existing laws it was seeking to amend.
Ibrahim El sudi (PDP, Taraba) noted that the bill had nothing new as a similar programme for unemployed graduates was already in existence at the NDE, saying: “There is a graduate attachment programme that does exactly what this bill is seeking”.
“Even, a similar programme exists for non-graduates on the social aspect for unemployed non-graduates at the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). What should happen is for the authorities to strengthen these programmes”.
James Faleke (ACN, Lagos) said providing such monetary incentive would only compound the economic challenges facing the country.
According to him, since the Nigerian economy was not production-based, industrial revival efforts would be defeated with such monthly allowances turning the beneficiaries into lazy people.
“Rather than turn our unemployed youths into lazy ones, government should channel the monthly stipends towards the revival of our industries. In other words, let us teach them how to fish instead of giving them the fish. When our industries are revived, the economy will absorb them”, he said.
Peter Onyemaechi (ANPP, Ebonyi) expressed concern over the programme, which he said could be compromised, citing previous poverty alleviation programmes that have failed.
“How do we verify the beneficiaries? How do they qualify? Because of corruption, the list would just keep expanding. People would no longer look for work since there is easy money coming in every month,” he added.
The bill was summarily defeated and plenary was adjourned.