The Senate passed a bill seeking the establishment of a National Internship and Unemployment Benefit Scheme on Wednesday.

The bill was considered and passed for a second reading after a presentation by its sponsor, Senator Shuaib Salisu (APC, Ogun Central), who explained that the piece of legislation, aims to offer unemployed graduates in Nigeria some part-time jobs where they could gain experience and earn stipends.

Senator Salisu added that the bill intends to create a database of unemployed Nigerian youths, particularly graduates, with their respective disciplines and also establish a framework that will guide the provision of part-time jobs for youths while they search for full-time jobs.

According to him, the scheme, when established, would provide hope for graduates and allow them to acquire experience before they secure full-time employment.

He argued that the scheme would help address insecurity and criminal activities that arose from unemployment.

The lawmaker also acknowledged existing agencies such as the National Directorate of Employment, NDE and the Industrial Trust Fund, ITF, but noted that they have not been targeted adequately to the beneficiaries.

Senator Salisu believes that the scheme, which will have a database, will be more effective in streamlining interventions for the beneficiaries.

Though many of the senators who contributed supported the proposed legislation, Senator Ahmed Wadada (SDP, Nasarawa West), argued that the bill may not be the solution needed to tackle unemployment.

But Senator Wadada said the focus should be on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and consequently create jobs, not thinking of benefits for the unemployed.

“If the environment is enabling enough to up to 10 Dangotes, the rate of unemployment will be reduced to the barest minimum. The emphasis at all times should be to create the needed enabling environment,” he said.

After passage for a second reading, the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, mandated the Senate Committee on Labour and Productivity to give it more legislative inputs and report back within four weeks.