The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, says the Federal Government will invest N14 billion to improve the welfare of Youth Corps members and staff of the National Youth Service Corps.
He made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 2023 NYSC Annual Management Conference.
The conference has: “Optimising the Operations of NYSC @ 50 for National Development,” as its theme.
According to Dare, the document which contains other reforms proposals has been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari and is awaiting his assent.
He said: “It is for us to increase and improve the quality of the uniforms of our corps members, increase their bicycle allowance, their feeding allowance and compensation to the staff.
“All of that has been done and has gone to the relevant Ministry and Finance.
“I am sure that as it makes its way to the Presidency, it will get a positive response that will see an injection of N14 billion into the corps and staff welfare for the NYSC.”
Dare added that one of the major components of the NYSC Trust Fund was to extend the Skills Acquisition Entrepreneurship Development programme carried out during the orientation course from three weeks to one year.
He, however, challenged the scheme to come up with reforms that would make it better than what it was presently.
He emphasised the need to carry Nigerian youths along in decision making processes at all levels, saying that the nation could not afford to neglect them.
He said: “We also need internal reforms because we deal with a very sensitive population.
“Since the EndSARS happened, no segment of this country can ever or should ever ignore the youth of our country.
“The youth of this country deserve investment in skills but also those of us entrusted with taking care of them must be sensitive to their needs and also to the issues that are affecting them today.”
The Director-General of the NYSC, Brigadier General Yusha’u Ahmed, said this year’s edition of the conference was special as it took place when the scheme was close to celebrating its 50th anniversary.
He also said since the establishment of NYSC in 1973, it had remained a reference point for other organisations owing to its vital roles in the promotion of national unity and integration.
Ahmed said: “It is also a reference for peaceful co-existence among Nigerians of diverse socio-cultural backgrounds and free movement of labour.
“The contributions of the scheme in the areas of health, education, rural infrastructure, culture and tourism, sports, conduct of elections, population census and job creation, amongst others are enormous.
“They have earned it commendations from within and outside the country.”
Ahmed, while commending the contributions of all stakeholders to the achievements of the scheme so far, said the scheme would use the conference to consolidate and build on them by evolving new ideas for greater impact.
The Director-General called on critical stakeholders to support the scheme toward addressing some of its challenges, adding that he was also hopeful that the NYSC Trust Fund would be actualised soon.
He added: “When established, it will make the NYSC SAED programme more functional through the provision of training facilities and start-up capital to finance the businesses of corps entrepreneurs.
“It will also assist in addressing the challenges of inadequate infrastructure and logistics, thereby enhancing the efficiency of our operations.”