…Makes Case For Youths
Andy Esiet, Calabar
The Cross River Caucus Chairman in the National Assembly, Senator Gershom Henry Bassey has faulted Nigeria’s poor budget allocation to education and the health sector saying it falls grossly below world standard thus affecting youth employment and capital development.
A statement from the Lawmaker’s office made available to some newsmen in Calabar yesterday said, countries like China prioritized large-scale investments in physical and human capital during the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on areas such as education, technology and industrial job creation. Today, China has almost eliminated illiteracy among its 1.3 billion population.
In contrast, Bassey stated that, “Nigeria’s 2022 budget only proposes 5.4 percent and 3.42 percent for education and healthcare sectors respectively, posing implementation challenges to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
“Nigeria’s figures are also in contrast with, for example, UNESCO’s recommendation that developing countries should spend up to 25 percent of their annual budget on education”.
Bassey who had earlier raised a motion in the red chamber on the need to prioritize sustainable youth oriented human capital development for long term Socio-Economic growth, said available statistics show that 55 million of Nigerian youths live in object property.
The National Assembly Caucus Chairman said, “Nigeria’s current economic growth patterns are not providing adequate employment and quality of life, especially for young persons who may lack necessary skills and training”.
He observed that, “by fourth quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased to 33.3 percent from 27% in second quarter and Nigeria now ranks 2nd highest on the unemployment global list and one in three of Nigeria’s 69.7 million work force are unemployed, consisting of predominantly young persons aged 25-44”.
Bassey who represents Cross River South in the Senate, pointed out that “food inflation has accelerated at its highest pace in 15 years, worsening the economic conditions of millions of Nigerian youths, of which more than 55 million now live in extreme poverty”.
In the wake of the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, he said, “many of our youth still feel despondent as statistics show that poverty, unemployment and insecurity are on a steady rise.
“Hence government needs to consider its youth population as a unique resource and economic force for high-income growth and development. Commit to budget allocations that provide youth-oriented economic interventions, technological adaptability, foster entrepreneurship and job creation in agriculture and manufacturing sectors”.
He also suggested that, “more concerted steps to improve the socio-economic conditions of our Nigerian youths are imperative. Investment in formal and informal education systems, skills and capacity acquisition programmes for emerging industries, and the provisions of an enabling environment with adequate infrastructure is a critical”.