ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has stated that youth unemployment in Nigeria can be curtailed with a collaborative policy and legislative thrust that would help improve access to finance and develop basic infrastructure.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja on Monday, noted that the inability to access finance, inadequate power supply and the nation’s current under-developed transport systems in many parts of the country, hinder millions of otherwise productive but unemployed and under-employed youth from starting small businesses.
“Nigeria currently has a working age population of just over 108 million people. Out of this number, people under 35 years old are the worst affected by the high rate of unemployment and under-employment in our nation.
“To begin to put a dent in these detrimental statistics, we need to combine our strategies at the legislative and executive level to create greater access to finance for young people. Right now, it is clear that no arm of government can go at this alone. On our end in the 8th Senate, we are working to create new forms of capital through the passage of Bills like the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Bill that will allow young people to use their portable assets like cars and laptops as collateral for loans to start small businesses.
“We have also passed the Warehouse Receipts Bill to create new type of transactional currency that will allow people to use their invoices from pending transactions and contracts to access loans from credit institutions,” the Senate President said.
Saraki also emphasized that improvements need to be made in Nigeria’s transport systems to allow for easy and efficient movement of people, goods and services across the country.
He noted that this will not only improve the country’s economy as suggested in a 2016 World Bank Report, it will also help to create more opportunities for young people to contribute to the development of the economy.
“As it stands, at the National Assembly, we are working hard to pass laws that will improve Nigeria’s infrastructure and transport systems by creating more avenues for private sector participation in the building of roads and railway systems.
“This can be seen through our amendment of the 62 year-old Railway Act; the passage of the Federal Road Authority establishment Bill; and our ongoing work on the National Transport Commission Bill.
“We are also continuously working to reform and strengthen our ability to import and export through our ports with the passage of the National Inland Waterways Act; the amendment to the Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority Act; and our update to the Nigerian Customs Service Act.
“Moving forward, although it is clear that both the legislature and the executive are working hard to address these critical areas, there needs to be closer collaboration and emphasis on using both policy and legislative interventions to bring down the rising unemployment in the country,” Saraki said.
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