……Empowers 500,000 in 10 years, sets up skill centres
By Adejumoke Alebiosu
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) justified its proposal to set up a trust fund for all corps members nationwide, arguing that the fund, if eventually established, will help actualise President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of unemployment before the next decade.
NYSC, a scheme established in 1973 to promote national cohesion and integration, disclosed that it had trained over 500,000 corps members in different agro-allied, skill development and vocational programmes and facilitated N1.184 billion for those who applied in the last decade.
NYSC’s Director Special Duties, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi said this at a session with newsmen at the weekend, revealed that no fewer than corps members had been trained and empowered under its Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED).
Explaining its centrality to the fight against poverty and unemployment, Abdullahi said the Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Shuaibu had proposed the establishment of a Trust Fund as a strategy to help actualise Buhari’s vision of lifting 100 million out of poverty cycle.
Despite huge achievements the scheme had recorded under 48 years of its establishment, the NYSC had diversified its approach from career advisory to entrepreneurship development the high rate of poverty and aiming to reduce unemployment in the nation.
Of the 25 NYSC secretariats that set up post-camp mini training centres nationwide, for instance, Abdullahi noted that the scheme was recording low patronage perhaps due to lack of training tools or lack of awareness among graduates.
Abdullahi explained the centrality of the ongoing establishment of Skills Acquisition Centre in all geo-political zones to raising an army of entrepreneurs, who he argued, would deploy their entrepreneurial potential for national development.
He, therefore, noted that it was on this ground that the NYSC had proposed to establish a trust fund to equip corps members with requisite skills they need for value addition and financially empowerment as they are completing their national services.
When established, according to NYSC’S director, the trust fund will also provide resources for the training and empowerment of corps members, especially on skill acquisition and entrepreneurship development. It is a strategy to end poverty as the president has envisaged to lift 100 million out of poverty by 2030.
Since its creation in 2012, NYSC’s director listed SAED’s achievements to include the establishment of a full-pledged department that would be saddled with the responsibility of streamlining the skills and entrepreneurial activities of the Corps members.
Under the Department of Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, Abdullahi disclosed that it had received support from the Access Bank Plc to construct and equip a mega skills acquisition centre in Gombe for the North-East States
Besides, according to the director, we are building a similar one in Jigawa for the Northwest States and in Nasarawa for the North-central States. The construction of the Southwest skill Acquisition Centre located in Ekiti State is already at completion stage.
Abdullahi disclosed ongoing collaboration with Unity Bank Plc, which according to him, focused on funding business plan development programmes for corps members.
He, also, disclosed successful partnership initiatives with such funding institutions as the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the CBN, which he said, would start-up capital for corps entrepreneurs.
To realise these plans, Abdullahi noted that General Electric and Cognity Advisory Nigeria, among others, had trained 40 SAED Officers on entrepreneurship
He explained that the SAED, which empowered corps members with the support of its partners, had helped set the corps members on the path to prosperity.