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John Ameh, Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives and other stakeholders on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to urgently fix the public power sector if it was serious about generating employment and reducing criminal activities in the country.
They noted that the high unemployment rate in the country had given room to an army of employment racketeering outfits, which capitalised on the desperation of the unemployed population to defraud them of huge sums of money yearly.
For example, the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, stated that government must “accelerate policies to encourage existing business concerns and encourage social responsibility of the corporate organisations.”
Its Acting Managing Director, Mr. Ismail Agaka, told the House of Representatives Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity that one key area that would promote employment generation was the “troubled” energy sector.
He said, “To reduce employment, crimes and social unrest in the country, government must fix the energy sector. By fixing the troubled power supply situation, the economy will be improved because more investors will be interested in investing, and in turn, create jobs and wealth for the populace in general.”
The stakeholders shared their views at a public hearing organised by the committee on “Extortion of Employment Seekers by Government Agencies and Recruitment Firms and Call for a State of Emergency and Legislative Intervention in Unemployment Crisis in Nigeria.”
The committee is chaired by Mr. Francis Onyewuchi, who told the session that government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies must be called to question on the growing job racketeering and secret recruitment conducted by such organisations.
He also queried the seeming failure of the Federal Civil Service Commission and the Federal Character Commission to play their regulatory and monitoring roles effectively.
Onyewuchi noted that the weaknesses displayed by these offices had encouraged corruption and other forms of malpractices in employment processing.
The Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, confirmed that unemployment had not only encouraged crimes but had also created chances for criminals to further defraud job-seekers.
Dogara recalled that the country’s unemployment rate was growing by “at least 16 per cent each year.”
He added that “as many as about 50 per cent of the eligible youth are said to be either unemployed or underemployed.”
Dogara, who was represented by the Deputy House Minority Whip, Binta Bello-Maigeri, argued that the situation was made worse by the lack of sincerity on the part of the employing authorities.
Part of an address delivered on his behalf by Bello-Maigeri read, “Besides the spate of rising unemployment, recruitment exercises, in the recent past, conducted by many public organisations in Nigeria tended to showcase the level of exploitation faced by job-seeking Nigerians.
“We have witnessed the sale of application forms to applicants, resort to primordial sentiments in the selection process, while allegations of outright demand for bribes are rife.”
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Source: Punch News