Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
As parts of efforts to resuscitate some of the ailing industries and check the growing rate of unemployment in Nigeria, the House of Representatives Thursday adopted a motion seeking to provide bailouts to affected industries in the country.
A “motion of urgent matters of public importance” by Hon. James Faleke from Lagos State, was extensively debated in the House and was supported by majority of the lawmakers who described it as a right step towards addressing unemployment nationwide.
In his motion titled: “Need to Bail out Ailing Industries to Absorb the Teeming Unemployed Graduates and Create Wealth for the Country,” Faleke suggested that a fund should be set aside to resuscitate the moribund industries.
Following the adoption of the motion, the House urged the federal government to initiate a process of identifying specific and critical industries in the country that would benefit from the proposed bailout programme.
The House also advised the federal government to devise strategies that would lead to improvement in power supply, especially to serve the industries – so as to prevent them from going under due to the high cost of power.
The lawmakers also canvassed for a special bailout strategy for ailing and collapsed industries, both publicly quoted and privately owned companies, for resuscitation, which would be devoid of bureaucratic bottlenecks and demand for collateral, along with the equipment and assets of the industries and to apply the bail out through the Bank of Industry, the Bank of Agriculture, the Nigeria Export/Import Bank at a single digit interest rate with three-year moratorium.
Faleke said: “An alarming 1.3 million new graduates pass out every year from the over 170 accredited universities for the National Youths Service Scheme (NYSC). It is estimated that there are about 20 million unemployed graduates in Nigeria at the moment.
“The above number does not include those graduates who are excluded from the national service on account of age or who attended other institutions of higher learning that do not present candidates for the national service, such as holders of the Ordinary National Diploma (0ND), the National Certificate in Education (NCE) and those who attend the National Open University.”
He listed companies such as Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Oluwa Glass Plc, Tate Industries Plc, Bachita Sugar Company, Jebba Paper Mill, Aladja Steel Company, Sapele Wood Industry, Food Specialties Plc and others as companies qualified for such government bailout.
In his contribution to the debate, Hon. Chris Azubogu, representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South Federal Constituency in Anambra State, urged the House to wade into the matter and review the country’s industrial policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Hon. Nnoli Nnaji from Enugu State was also of the opinion that stability of power generation must be increased, else efforts to resuscitate those industries would be in futility.
Also, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, representing Fagge Federal Constituency in Kano State, said the most important step to take is to address a bill to that effect.
The motion was, however, referred to the House Committee on Industry for further legislative input.