Reps debate bailout for ailing industries to ease unemployment


House of Representatives hits back at Senate, ignore bills for concurrence

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to initiate a process of bailing out critical industries in the country, to reduce unemployment among the youth.

The house also urged the Federal Government to devise strategies that would lead to improved power supply to serve the industries.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion titled “Need to Bail out Ailing Industries to enable them Absorb the Teeming Unemployed Graduates’’, sponsored by Rep. James Faleke.

Leading the debate, Faleke said that the motion was aimed at reviving the country’s economy by empowering the youth to be productive.

He said that unemployment reduced the self-esteem of the Nigerian youth and frowned at the situation where youths seeking employment were made to pay for the jobs they sought.

Faleke also expressed concern that cottage industries that employed Nigerians in large numbers before were not functioning any more.

“It is therefore pertinent to design a special bail out strategy for ailing and collapsed industries for resuscitation, devoid of bureaucratic bottlenecks and demand for collateral, except with the equipment and assets of the industries.

“The bailout should be applied through the Bank of Industry, the Bank of Agriculture, the Nigerian Export/Import Bank at a single digit interest rate with three years moratorium,’’ Faleke said.

He also called for the inclusion of cooperatives and micro finance banks in the bailout programmes to lend to businesses at single digit interest rates to help boost the stock and sales of traders.

Falake said that the move would address the 1.3 million new graduates passing out every year from the National Youth Service Scheme without jobs.

According to him, there are about 20 million unemployed graduates in Nigeria at the moment.

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“The number does not include those graduates who were excluded from the national service on account of age or who attended other institutions of higher learning that do not present candidates for the national service.

“As a result of the collapse and closure of many industries that would have employed the graduates, they are now left to roam the streets of major cities in search of unavailable jobs.

“In the process, they are exposed to the risks of kidnapping, prostitution, cultism, armed robbery and other sundry crimes as well as falling prey to the antics of employment scammers who take advantage of their desperation to exploit them.

“Unless the Federal Government takes drastic steps towards redirecting this trend, the country will continue to experience geometric rise in ritual killings involving young people, brigandage, internet fraud, terrorism and other sundry crimes,’’ Faleke said.

Rep Babajimi Benson, while contributing to the motion, described the unemployment situation in the country as endemic.

He pointed to the power sector as a key component in achieving the progress and development in empowering Nigerians.

“Power is essential as it enhances and eases development of all sectors,’’ he said.

Similarly, Rep Aminu Shagari stated that if resources of economic progress were developed and rightly applied, progress and development of all sectors of Nigeria would be easy.

“Nigeria and indeed Nigerians will be better for it,’’ Shagari said.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara referred the motion to the Committees on Finance, Industry, Labour, Employment and Productivity to devise a plan that would enable the Federal Government to actualise the bailout proposal to the ailing and moribund industries.