The Federal Government has commended the contributions of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in diverse areas to the overall development of the country.
It added that the Scheme in almost 50 years of its existence has remained a strong tool for socio-economic development and national unity.
The Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare stated this today in his address at the Opening Ceremony of the 2023 NYSC Annual Management Conference with the theme; “Optimizing the Operations of NYSC at 50 for National Development”, held in Abuja.
Dare said there is need for reforms in NYSC in order to enhance improved service delivery and also meet the challenges of the 21st century youths as potential entrepreneurs.
The Minister added that Government would continue to preserve the Scheme for its roles in national development and youth empowerment.
Mr. Dare, who commended the past Managers of the Scheme for introducing the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme into its Orientation Course programme which has produced hundreds of youth entrepreneurs also lauded the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and other stakeholders across the country for their support towards the actualization of the proposed NYSC Trust Fund.
He tasked the conference participants to “take the NYSC in the direction of another trajectory of progress, digital revolution, supporting and moulding the youths within one year to be better citizens for national development and national unity”.
In his welcome address, the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brigadier General YD Ahmed, said since its inception in 1973, the NYSC has remained a reference point for other organisations owing to its vital roles in the promotion of national unity and integration, peaceful co-existence among Nigerians of diverse socio-cultural backgrounds and free movement of labour.
Ahmed disclosed that despite its laudable achievements, the Scheme is still battling some operational challenges such as; dilapidated facilities at the Orientation Camps, inadequate Corps Lodges, lack of befitting office accommodation in some states, and inadequate operational vehicles among others.
He, therefore, appealed to critical stakeholders to discharge their statutory responsibilities to the Scheme and also empower a large number of Corps Members with start-up capital for self-reliance after going through the NYSC entrepreneurial training.
The DG stated further that the proposed NYSC Trust Fund, when actualized, would make the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme more functional, through the provision of training facilities and start-up capital to finance the businesses of Corps Entrepreneurs.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Alhaji Muhammed Musa Bello commended the scheme’s various innovations and positive strides to date.
The Minister, whose address was read by the Mandate Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Hajia Hadiza Mohammed Kabir disclosed that Corps Members posted to the FCT have contributed immensely to the development of schools, hospitals, rural infrastructure, culture and tourism, sports, the conduct of elections, population census, job creation among others.
“The Nation surely looks up to the Scheme to continue to provide the required manpower for its accelerated development”, he said.
In her goodwill address, the Chairman, NYSC National Governing Board, Ambassador Fatima Balla Abubakar represented by Alhaji Yusuf Nalado appealed for continued stakeholders’ support for NYSC.
The Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Alhaji Ahmed Wada Ikaka said the conference participants would make useful contributions towards evolving new ideas and best practices that will form a road map that will improve the Scheme’s operations for greater impact.
Participants at the conference were drawn from the 37 NYSC State/FCT Secretariats, Area Offices, and other formations of the Scheme across the country.