Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives threw out a bill seeking to provide monetary incentives to all unemployed graduates in Nigeria.The bill, sponsored by Rep Arua Arunsi (PDP, Abia), sought to amend the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Act 2004 to cater for unemployed graduates of tertiary institutions who could not secure employment after graduation.
Arunsi argued that the objective of the bill was to design and implement programmes to combat mass unemployment for graduates that are between the ages of 18 to 35 years and who are in their third to fifth year of post graduation experience.
Most, however, opposed the second reading of the bill on the grounds that it failed to meet critical criterion of filling gaps inherent in the extant law it was seeking to amend.
Rep Ibrahim Tukur El sudi (PDP, Taraba) said that the bill had nothing new since there was a similar programme for unemployed graduates in the extant law.
"There is a graduate attachment programme that does exactly what this bill is seeking. Even, a similar programme is existing for non-graduates on the social aspect for unemployed non-graduates at the NISTF. What should happen is for the authorities to strengthen these Programmes," El-Sudi said.
El-Sudi maintained that the NDE was already empowered to implement what the bill was seeking to achieve, stressing the need for NDE to be properly funded through budgetary provisions.
On his part, Rep Abiodun James Faleke (ACN, Lagos) contended that providing such monetary incentives will compound the economic problems facing Nigeria because the economy was not a productive one.
While noting that it would "turn our unemployed youths into lazy ones", he said "government should channel the monthly stipends towards the revival of our industries".
But Reps Hassan El-Badewi (ANPP, Yobe) and Peace Nnaji (PDP, Enugu) who supported the bill, noted that the country can afford to give the monthly allowance to the unemployed youth.