The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has identified inadequate funding as the major challenge confronting the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme initiated by the scheme.
Despite the challenge of paucity of funds, NYSC said the scheme had recorded remarkable success and achievements in the implementation of the programme.
The NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, who stated this during the 2021 NYSC SAED Stakeholders’ Meeting and Training of Desk Officers, which took place at the National Directorate Headquarters in Abuja, noted that the scheme would not rest on its oars in its quest to sustain and build on the achievements made within the last one year towards equipping corps members as employers of labour.
He said: “The major challenge of the SAED programme is inadequate funds for empowerment, of corps members, which include skill and entrepreneurial training facilities, business start-up capital, access to mentorship, as well as insufficient bilateral and multilateral collaborations.”
“Despite the unusual situation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant dislocation of many businesses in 2020, it is gratifying that so much has been achieved,” Ibrahim said, urging participants at the training to engage in deliberation that would lead to the expansion of the existing collaborations, as well as developing new ones.
The Director-General, who said that corps members were equal to the task and laden with potentials irrespective of state of deployment, urged the SAED stakeholders to extend the empowerment opportunities across the country in order to enhance national development.
The Director, Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme, Mr. Hilary Nasamu said that as a result of the fallout of the 2020 edition of the programme, participants and stakeholders have expressed commitment to provide resources to tackle the challenges and chart a brighter future for the empowerment of corps members.
According to him, despite the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, NYSC has made a positive difference and improved the scorecard of the NYSC SAED initiative.
He listed the part of the success recorded to include the NYSC-BOI Partnership, NYSC-Unity Bank Partnership, NYSC-BATNF Partnership, NYSC-EDC Partnership, NYSC-Access Bank Partnership, NYSC-LFN Partnership, NYSCNIRSAL MFB Collaboration, among others.
Nasamu, however, recalled that in order to step up the quality of training for corps members, the NYSC had commenced the process of re-energising the involvement of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) including Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), among others in the skills acquisition programme.
For instance, he pointed out that Access Bank is partnering the NYSC-SAED in direct financial empowerment for corps members through a competitive programme, codenamed ‘Lions’ Den.’