From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
An advocacy group, Human RightsWriters Association, HURIWA, has thrown its weight behind the bill for the establishment of the NYSC Trust Fund and urged the National Assembly to hasten the process of passing it into law.
Contrary to unfavourable media reports against the bill which is at its final stage of passing into law, HURIWA noted that the Bill will address inclusive growth in the country as well as infrastructural deficit in the nation’s orientation camps.
Besides, the group said if passed into law, the NYSC Trust Fund would equally ensure adequate provision of other operational logistics, as well as address the problem of graduate unemployment in the country.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement in Abuja, observed that the idea behind the Trust Fund is to be able to ensure the provision of a sustainable source of funding for the scheme and training and retraining of corps members participating in the programme.
Onwubiko, a former National Commissioner with the National Human Rights Commission, was responding to a report by an online media platform, Sahara Reporters, that the NYSC Trust Fund, will enriched Military officers and their relations.
While describing the report as baseless and concorted, HURIWA noted that the Trust also “seeks to provide a sustainable source of funds for the scheme so as to support the skill acquisition, training and empowerment of corps members as well as training and retraining of the personnel of NYSC. Thereby promote and complement the spirit of self-reliance and entrepreneurship among the corps members.
The group further stated that ” this innovative fund is geared towards supporting the development of Nigeria through the reduction of unemployment particularly amongst the youth who will hopefully take advantage of the provisions of the Bill and the Fund itself to wean themselves off dependence on white collar jobs that are simply not there.
When passed into law, private organisations are expected to contribute one percent of their net profit to the fund, while 0.2 percent of total revenue accruing to the Federation Account will be earmarked for the fund. This will be channeled towards improving the general welfare of corps members and enhancing their preparedness to effectively discharge their statutory duties of promoting national unity, integration, self-reliance and accelerated development of the economy.
HURIWA however warned against mismanagement of the Fund against its set objectives.
“As laudable as this piece of legislation is, one can also make haste to point out that it is one thing to make a law with far-reaching benefits as this Trust Fund is and another to manage it in such a way that its aims and objectives are actualized over time. In making this assertion, one can draw attention to the urgent need to depoliticize the operations of the fund in terms of who benefits from it and not turn into a cash cow of sorts to political leaders. This is imperative if the nation must avoid the pitfalls of similar funds set up to empower targeted sections of the population.
On the whole one is enchanted by the realization that the Fund and its operations will be building on the successes already established by the scheme over the years. The Trust Fund instrument that will galvanize the youth development plans of the government. All that is required at this time is a speedy conclusion of the legislative process and a timely assent to it by the President.