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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Again: Reps ask FG to declare emergency on unemployment

For the second time in four months, the House of Representatives on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on unemployment.

It also directed its Committees on Labour/Productivity, Poverty Alleviation and Federal Character to conduct a public hearing on unemployment with a view to bringing stakeholders together to “make inputs for further legislative intervention.”
The House passed the resolution following a motion moved by the House Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, and 80 other members.
A similar motion which was passed in June has not been complied with by the government.
The non-compliance with the earlier motion had made some members to oppose Gbajabiamila’s motion, but the presiding Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, managed the situation by insisting that the latest motion was too vital to be thrown out.
Lasun had argued that members should amend the motion instead by removing portions of the content they considered to be irrelevant.
Among those who kicked against the motion were House Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, who held to the argument that the motion was against the promise of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to create three million jobs yearly.
Ogor asked whether declaring a state of emergency meant that the government would give up on its promise.
Another member from Rivers State, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, noted that the motion merely replicated the first one with “same prayers, same issues and same conclusions.”
He advised that the House should revive the earlier motion and call on government to act on it rather than passing another one.
But, leading the debate with the backing of the majority of members, Gbajabiamila told his colleagues that the rate of unemployment in the country was “alarming.”
He said on a daily basis, job seekers flooded the constituency offices of members or sent letters seeking for jobs.
“It is like we are sitting on a time bomb.
“The various reports and the glaring evidence of joblessness in all states of the Federation indicate that there has been no time in the history of the country that unemployment has been as serious as it is at the moment ,” Gbajabiamila added.
He suggested that part of the solutions was for the Nigerian Immigration Service to step up its duties by disallowing “undocumented” employment practices by aliens.
Gbajabiamila observed that while many Nigerians had no jobs, there were reported cases of firms breaching regulations by giving out jobs meant for locals to foreigners.
He called for a local content legislation in the construction industry to protect the rights of Nigerians.
The motion was later passed in a majority voice vote.
Meanwhile, the House also directed the Accountant-General of the Federal to ensure the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Statements by governments in Nigeria.
The sponsor of the motion on the subject, Mr. Olajide Olatubosun, said the IPSAS would “promote accountability and transparency” in governance.

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