The Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Muhammad Bello, says the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC, can drive Nigeria’s economic recovery process.
Bello made this known on Monday when he declared open a two-day symposium on the imperatives of an NYSC Trust Fund in Abuja.
The symposium is themed: “Consolidating the Gains of the NYSC in Youth Empowerment and National Development in the Face of Current Economic Realities: The Imperatives of a Trust Fund”.
Mr Bello was represented at the occasion by Asabe Umar, the Director, Youth, Social Development Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory Development Authority.
Mr Bello, who said that the scheme could empower youths who were endowed with various talents at its disposal, also called for the support of the scheme’s laudable initiatives.
According to him, the NYSC is one of the most cherished national institutions Nigeria has to foster its unity, integration and national development after the unfortunate civil war.
“Over the years, however, the realisation of the objectives for establishing the scheme have been hampered by myriad of challenges.
“They include funding, provision of infrastructure and lately start-up capital for corps members trained through the NYSC Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme,” the minister said.
Mr Bello commended the management of the scheme for rising to the occasion to address the challenges facing its operations, through the proposed NYSC Trust Fund.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, noted that NYSC has continuously lived up to the dreams and aspirations of its founding fathers.
Dare, who was represented by Despan Kwardam, Assistant Director, Youth Rights and Leadership, said that the numerous achievements of the scheme did not come without challenges.
“Over the years, the NYSC has grappled with challenges which hamper its operations. This made it necessary to fashion ways for sustaining the scheme to contribute more to the development of the nation.
“Therefore, the proposal for the establishment of an NYSC Trust Fund is a step in the right direction. If established, it is expected to bridge the financial deficit of the scheme to empower all corps members for self reliance.
“This is by providing start up capitals to set up their businesses on the skills acquired during the service year,” Dare said.
The Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, had earlier said that the idea of the Trust Fund came up “while deepening the search for ways of addressing challenges faced by the scheme”.
He expressed confidence that the symposium would strengthen stakeholders’ support for the proposal.
Ibrahim further stated that the federal government bore the heavier cost of running the scheme.
“This is through feeding, medical services for corps members and course officials during the orientation course, provision of other logistics for orientation and post orientation operations.
“Others are the payment of corps members’ monthly personal and transport allowances, provision of kits, insurance of corps members, as well as staff welfare and training,” he said.
Mr Ibrahim stated that the fund, to be called “National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund, NYSCTF”, would strengthen the operations of the scheme.
He said: “The fund will help address infrastructural and other logistic needs for the smooth conduct of orientation courses.
“It will bolster the provision of corps lodges and transit camps, as well as other essential facilities for the welfare of the corps members.”
He also said that resources from the fund would support staff training for higher productivity as well as logistics requirements.
“These include special aspects of our Community Development Service such as medical outreaches conducted under the NYSC Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers, among others,” Mr Ibrahim said.