The Minister of Youth Development, Jamila Bio-Ibrahim, has said that the Federal Government cannot guarantee an increase in the monthly allowance of serving members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
She made this statement on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics programme, where she discussed the welfare and security of corps members in the country.
According to her, the government is aware of the challenges faced by the youths, especially in the wake of food inflation and rising cost of living, but it is constrained by the dwindling resources and oil revenues.
However, she said the government would rather find innovative ways of ensuring that corps members are well taken care of, such as transforming the NYSC scheme into a revenue-generating agency and preparing them for the job market.
“We can’t say for sure, we all understand that resources are dwindling, even oil revenues are not as they used to be but we will find innovative ways of ensuring that corps members’ welfare are well-taken,” she said.
She added that the government has announced a reform of the NYSC scheme, which would enable it to go beyond being a social programme of government to being a revenue-generating scheme and agency.
“The reforms which transform the NYSC into a revenue-generating agency and prepare the corps members for the job market and to be decently and gainfully employed or to be employers of labour through entrepreneurship and of course, perfect matching into primary assignment and all the support they need in that career path,” she stated.
Bio-Ibrahim added that the NYSC has stopped posting corps members to unsafe states, as part of the measures to ensure their safety and security. She said the matter was a multi-sectoral approach and the NYSC has been working with security agencies for the protection of corps members.
The minister’s statement comes amid calls by some youths serving in the NYSC scheme that the government should raise their monthly allowance, colloquially called Alawee.
The government had increased the allowance from N19,000 to N33,000 in January 2020, following the implementation of the new minimum wage bill signed by then President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2019. However, some corps members have argued that the allowance is insufficient to meet their needs in the face of economic challenges.
The NYSC scheme was established in 1973 to foster national unity and integration among Nigerian youths. It involves a one-year mandatory service by graduates below the age of 30 in various sectors of the economy.