OrderPaperToday – The ministry of youths and sports development has kicked against a bill seeking to establish a framework for coordinating national strategy for promoting the social, economic and political development of youths in the country.

This was at the public hearing on the bill held at the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The bill which seeks to establish a ‘National Youth Development Commission’ is sponsored by Simone Karu, Umar Lawal Muda, Kabir Tukura and other members of the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF).

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According to the sponsor, “the bill shall develop the National Youth Development Policy and Strategy for Nigeria; develop guidelines for the implementation of a national youth development policy and make recommendations to the President; initiate, design, co-ordinate, evaluate and monitor all programmes aimed at integrating the youth into the economy and society in general; guide efforts and facilitate economic participation and empowerment, and achievement of education and training; and partner and assist organs of state, the private sector and non-governmental organisations and community based organisations on initiatives directed at attainment of employment and skills development.

Speaking at the hearing, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, noted that “Nigerian youths make up a significant majority of our population. They are our nation’s present and future. As such, all governing actions and policy priorities must ensure that our young people can dream big dreams and achieve grand ambitions. This includes ensuring that they have access to quality education and training to develop the skills required in the modern economy.”

He related his experience at the 52nd convocation lecture of the University of Lagos, saying “I spoke extensively on the need to adapt the structure and content of education to reflect the needs of the 21st-century economy. It also requires that we explore avenues for ensuring that young people have access to capital to innovate and build enterprises in every economic sector. That combination of quality education and access to capital can make all the difference in the lives of millions of young people in our country.”

Mr. Gbajabiamila said “the purpose of this public hearing is to sample the opinions of stakeholders from across the country so that from the agglomeration of these multiple views, we might fashion a legislative approach that serves the best interests of our country.”

In its submission, the ministry of youths and sports stated that the proposed national youth development commission is a misnomer as it does not provide any new insight into youth development in Nigeria but aims to repeat some of the essential functions of the ministry.

Mr. Ismaila Abubakar, permanent secretary of the ministry said “emphasis on reducing the cost of governance has been threatened in recent times by the continued push to establish more government agencies. In contrast, the already existing ones struggle to run their activities.

“The suffocating impact of the high cost of governance on our national life has made it assume a national emergency dimension.”

The ministry further pointed that the bill if passed into law would automatically take away the functions and responsibilities of at least three departments in the ministry, namely; network and social mobilisation; education and youth development and enterprises development and promotion.

He added that the statutory functions of the concerned departments and some aspects of the responsibilities of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) are basically the same as provided in sections of the proposed bill.

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