Nigeria’s economy is in crisis. The naira has fallen over 50% in the last year alone. Oil revenues, the mainstay of Nigeria’s foreign earnings are at their lowest in the last two decades. An economy in crisis requires urgent measures and in the light of this, the government needs to address the situation with the urgency required.
The ongoing economic crisis in Nigeria has literally crippled all activities and revenue base of several government agencies and parastatals, including the NYSC Scheme. Over the years, the NYSC has depended solely on government funding and generates little or no revenue for its own sustenance nor for government.
Therefore, considering the economic situation of the country, it has become highly imperative for the NYSC to explore alternative ways of generating revenue and reducing the financial burden on the Federal government.
Below are some ways through which the NYSC can generate revenue:
Agriculture still remains a veritable source of income for most people, but it is appalling to know that it is still largely untapped in Nigeria. NYSC can make use of its teeming youth population scattered across the various states of the Nation to bring awareness back to Agriculture.
Since Agriculture is not something that can go into extinction in Nigeria, all states should have their own plantations according to the food and crops that can be cultivated in each state. It should be noted that Agriculture here is all encompassing (livestock, fishing, farming, forestry, food processing etc) and on a fairly large scale.
Manpower should not pose a problem as corps members are always at NYSC’s disposal. These plantations may be CDS units, and corps members (as well as others) who are specialized in Agriculture (and other synonymous fields) can be engaged for better results. Funding for this could be sourced from Bank of Industry, Agricultural Development Banks and other institutions that support Agriculture.
This way, food can be made available to communities at cheaper rates and other raw materials can be produced, processed and marketed on a large scale. The advantage of this is two pronged, on one hand, proceeds are marketed and sold and the revenue goes into NYSC account, on the other hand it will help drive the attention of the youths towards agriculture, instead of pursuing white collar jobs.
In other to generate revenue, NYSC can engage in rapid investments across various sectors of the economy. It should venture into small scale enterprises across all the states of the federations. These ventures may include restaurants and bakeries where food, bread and pastries can be made and sold on a large scale. Supermarkets where groceries, provisions and other utilities can be sold.
NYSC can also go into hospitality and tourism business, like having its own hotels and also transportation. Buses can be procured to ply both intra and inter-state routes.
These ventures, if properly managed, will create turnover and profits can go into NYSC account thereby boosting its revenue base.
The NYSC should call for more private sector involvement and funding for all its programmes. NYSC is a veritable avenue to reaching out to thousands of young people in the country, hence a fertile ground for youth friendly firms to partner with NYSC. The involvement of the Private sector brings funds into the NYSC and this way, it relieves the scheme of some of its financial burdens as they will be taken care of by the respective organizations coming on board to partner with it.
The NYSC should engage in regular fund raising events that can help its revenue base. For instance, once a year, NYSC should hold a public lecture and fund raising event where the crème de la crème in the Nigerian society would be invited to speak and also support the NYSC scheme financially. Also, the scheme should embrace several philanthropists and organizations both within the country and outside (e.g UNICEF, UNESCO, IMF and other foundations) to raise funds, access grants and other benefits.
More innovative ideas should be introduced to the scheme which can help generate revenue, attract sponsors and yield returns. The whole process from registration, mobilization and orientation should be made more dynamic and easy for funds to be made. Also, the SAED programmes should be redesigned, with proper promotion and product packaging. Exhibitions should be organized at state levels and products sold en masse.
With the economic situation of the country, the NYSC is in grave danger of being scrapped as a result of the huge funding it receives from government, its sole financier, which is facing a hard time presently.
The suggestions given above, if properly harmonized and planned, can help the NYSC remain afloat and relevant in the country.