The House of Representatives have stated that the ministry of Youth and Sports Development should be supervising or at least involved in the execution of youth-related programmes in the country.
At a budget defence session organised by the House Committee on Youth Development in Abuja on Monday, the lawmakers and the Minister of Youth and Sports development, Sunday Dare, decried the low amounts proposed for the youth in the 2021 Appropriation Bill.
Most of the social intervention programmes of the current regime, under the National Social Investment Programme, are domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
The N-Power Programme, which is targeted at the youth, has N-Teach, N-Agro, N-Volunteer Corps, N-Build, N-Creative and N-Tech, among others.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Yemi Adaramodu, particularly stated that the Federal Government should have proposed more for youth empowerment, especially as the country just witnessed a nationwide protest by younger Nigerians, tagged #EndSARS and ‘Soro Soke’.
Adaramodu said, “There is one thing that is very noticeable – notably noticeable – and it is that even coming out of the recent happenings in the country, we believe that the government must consciously and courageously ensure that the budget for the ministry that is going to handle youth matters should be a first of its kind in Nigeria.
“When I look at what is submitted here (2021 budget), even the budget performance of this current year – 50, 30, 45 per cent – and then we want the youth to be taken care of; will this not amount to lips service? Is it not going to amount to the issues of ‘Soro Soke’?
“We found out that the Ministry of (Sports and) Youth (Development) that is supposed to be in charge of youths in Nigeria is oblivious of what is happening to the youths that are being taken care of in the N-Power. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has a lot for the youth; so many programmes; but how are these programmes being run?”
In his presentation, Dare, who noted that the proposal was made before the #EndSARS protests, said, “The 2021 budget emphasises investment in our citizens, particularly the youth, in order to achieve the aspirations of government and the move to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“It is highly important to note the present capital budget proposal, though higher than last year’s, is yet grossly inadequate to finance the maintenance of five stasis and the mini sports centres that we have across the country, and the youth development centres.”