The House of Representatives on Thursday, September 19, 2019 has urged the Federal Government to bailout ailing companies and industries in order to create employment to the teeming unemployed graduates in the country. The House passed a resolution urging the Government to initiate bailout processes to resuscitate ailing industries; Revamp power and the energy sector; revamp the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and other vocational centres across the country to deemphasize on government jobs; appoint experienced managers to manage and ensure the repayment of the bailout which would design to be obtained through the bank of industry; and to mandate relevant Committees of the House to help identify the collapsing companies and industries and liaise with the Federal Government on designing the bailout programme.
The resolution was passed following a motion of urgent public importance moved by Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, who informed that statistics have shown about 12 million Nigerians to be unemployed, over 2 million unemployed graduates are produced every three months from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. He noted that there yet other unemployed people excluded from this category, while others lack the technical knowledge to secure employment.
He stated that in the same way and manner with which the Federal Government released bailouts to States for the payment of salaries and allowances, such approach could be extended to tackle unemployment in the country by assisting moribund industries become viable again. He added that employment is one of the root causes insecurity and rise in ritual killings, cybercrimes and other forms of criminality bedeviling the country.
Contributing to the debate, Hon. Chris Azubogu suggested that educational and industrial policies in the country should be overhauled completely, adding that the perspective of knowledge-based economy is key and holistic approach should be adopted to ensure enduring outcome. Hon. Nnaji John cautioned that the Power sector needs to be revamped first and foremost, because “without Power no industry no matter the amount of bailout put into it would be viable.
Hon. Seun Koko and Jere Satomi agreed that if the government could replicate what it did in the ANCOR Borrowers Programme in the manufacturing sector, which has ranked Nigeria among the highest exporters of Rice, the economy will be revitalized and jobs will be created.
However, Hon. Aminu Suleiman informed that previous governments in the era of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo gave bailout to revitalize the economy, but it failed to achieve that aim due to lack of regular power supply.
Hon. Samuel Babatunde Adejaiye was of the opinion that a law should be enacted to make it the responsibility of government to bailout ailing companies and create enabling environment for private industries to thrive. He added that it is obvious that the government is overwhelmed with the issue of unemployment, so the private sector should be encouraged to take its place in Nigeria as the highest employer of labour.
Others who lent their voices to the debate believe the motion is timely and affect critical aspects of economy including power, education, security etc.
Hon. Shahid Musa stated that government release of bailout is not enough, efforts must be made to protect local investors also. The factors responsible for the collapse of these companies should be identified and addressed too, he opined.
Hon. Julius Ihonbvere said as commendable as the idea of bailout sounds, measures must however be taken to ensure it does not go the way of Airline bailout which was investigated by Sen. Hope Uzodinma’s then Committee on Aviation, and the report of the Committee revealed how the money was diverted for some private uses. He advised that there is need to emphasize technical vocational education, so that value of acquired skills could be appreciated.
Meanwhile, the House has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend implementation of the cashless policy which it started without far-reaching consultations with all stakeholders. The directive came on the heel of a motion moved by Hon. John Kalu.