The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the Federal Government to immediately lift embargo on employment into federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The House urged the Head of Service of the Federation to declare existing vacancies in all federal government establishments while the Federal Civil Service Commission should immediately embark on recruitment exercise to fill existing vacancies.
Adopting a motion sponsored by Hon. Sani Bala, the House asked members of the Organized Private Sector to also take steps to fill existing vacancies in their establishment in order to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country, given the interventions it may have enjoyed from the Federal Government and other development partners.
Hon. Sani Bala recalled that during his budget presentation in October 2019, announced an embargo on recruitment into Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), regretting however that the President recently emphasized the Federal Government stand on the existing embargo on recruitment in reaction to the devastating effects of the Corona Virus Pandemic and fall in Global Oil prices on Nigerians
According to him, by virtue of its role as the major employer of labour in the country, the action of the Federal Government not to sack or reduce salaries of its workers at the time has been applauded and has no doubt helped to reduce the worsening effects of the pandemic.
He recalled that in the attempt to address the adverse effects of the pandemic, the federal government instituted stimulus packages of N65 billion to assist a coalition of private sector operators, N50billion survival funds for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and N15billion guaranteed uptake scheme to save 500,000 jobs, among other interventions.
He said further that in view of the projection made by the Minister of Labour in 2018 that Nigeria would record an unemployment rate of 33.5% by 2020, the pandemic had only worsened the situation, with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo alleging that 39.4 million job losses were anticipated by December 2020.
He stressed that as a fallout from the pandemic, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics reported that the unemployment rate was put at about 27.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020, the highest on record since 2018 when unemployment rate was put at 23.1 percent in the third quarter of that year.
He maintained that in addition to the 2 million Nigerians previously projected by the World Bank to become impoverished, a further 5 million Nigerians have been said to be facing poverty as a result of COVID–19 Pandemic.
The lawmaker said that given the rate of youth corps members passing out daily after completing their mandatory national service, the unemployment statistics in Nigeria shows that the most agile working–class population in the country remain unemployed.
He warned about the dire consequences of youth unemployment in the society under critical periods like this, including poverty as well as rising criminal activities and other social vices which are currently prevalent in various parts of the country as the effects of the pandemic continue to bite harder.
He said it was desirous for the government to consider lifting the embargo on recruitment as a means of addressing further decline of Nigerians into extreme poverty.