Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has canvassed for the creation of National Employment Endowment Fund NEEF) through an Act of the National Assembly in order to extend its mileage of service in its resolve to tackle the problem of unemployment in the country.
It said an established Grant Sourcing Unit (GSU) has been set up with the aim of seeking for alternative way of funding aside from government.
The acting Director General of the agency, Mr. Kunle Obayan disclosed this at a media parley in Abuja, where he stressed that some intevention programmes embarked upon by the previous administration, which he said were parallel efforts to what NDE is doing, took funds and focus away from the agency, thus, making it unable for the agency to set up those trained.
According to him, “talking about government programmes that have actually taken funds away from NDE, I will call them a parallel efforts that are doing the same thing that NDE is doing are, like SURE-P, YouWin, Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS). GIS is a variant of NDE programme called Graduate Attachment Programme (GAP). They even borrow from us staff working with them to put the programme together in the Ministry of Finance. SURE-P is also riding on our backbone throughout the States; it’s the staff of NDE in the Special Public Works Department that are making it work.”
He affirmed that the previous administration took funds and focus from NDE, which he described as very unfortunate, stressing that NDE is the apex agency in this country to generate employment training, skills acquisition, and enterprise creation.
Obayan however expressed optimism that the present administration is senstive and focus to tackling youths unemployment, adding that government has programme in place, as well as social investment programmes with funds to take care of the poorest of the poor.
He noted that, “they have recognised this structure that NDE has throughout the country. NDE is very well positioned in this administration, and we hope to have impact on various youths. We have come up with creative programme for the youths. It is the kind of emergency that we have now in terms of unemployment and NDE is equal to the task.”
The acting DG stated: “it is true that funds were diverted from the agency, we train but we don’t have the ability to settle. So far in our conversation with the presidency especially in the social investment plan that they have, we have made it clear that training without empowerment leads nowhere.
“We have some proactive measures by the Grant Sourcing Unit we just created where we can source fund from donours- local and foreign to enable us extend the mileage of our service delivery, where funds will come from other sources rather than government source.
Obayan revealed: “We push-in for legislative intervention, we are talking to the National Assembly in terms of structuring or establishing a National Employment Endowment Fund, such that we can tap into this fund. They can create it by levies, custom duties, tariffs from so many other taxes that will aggregate into a fund, and that fund we can tap into for such thing as empowerment for these young men and women.”
He stressed that the agency has developed a job exchange portal, where the job seekers and the employers would meet; adding, “this is where they would pick all those poeple that they want for interviews and the ones they want to give jobs. NDE will now be the only agency that will be a clearing house such that if any vacancy is out there they must be reported to NDE first.”
Obayan emphasised that NDE did not have a regulatory arm to curb all the illicit trainers springing up everywhere to swindle desperate Nigerians in search of jobs, noting that it was another area where there should be legislative intervention.
He stated that NDE should be the agency that would regulate all training Institutes in the country in order to put an end to the proliferation of skills acquisition centres; explaining that even some ministries that are not mandated to have skill acquisition centres have in different places, without certification and standardisation, saying it is just a free for all terrian.
Obayan expressed optimism that the present administration would tackle it, and would also push for some legislation to strengthen NDE and also empower it to regulate and certify any kind of skill acquisition centres before they can operate.