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Reps to abolish NDE, NEMSA for dual functions

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By Abraham Adekunle

They demand for a five-year performance assessment report from NDE.

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee that is investigating the overlapping functions of government agencies has considered the abolishment of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE). The committee also recommended the National Electricity Services Management Agency (NEMSA) for the same purpose. At a continued hearing of the committee, lawmakers said that the two agencies have failed to live up to their mandate and instead costed Nigeria’s taxpayers a lot.

According to members of that committee, the NDE has failed to stem the rising of the unemployed among the teeming youth of the country. As regards NEMSA, the committee noted the weak metering system by the electricity distribution companies in the power sector and stated that the agency was yet to tackle the issue. The committee, therefore, demanded a five-year performance assessment report from the NDE for it to justify its existence in line with the mandate of the probe panel.

A direct response to the rising trend of unemployment.

The NDE was established in November 1986 and began operation in January 1987 during the military administration of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Its birth was predicated on the effects of the economic recession of the 1980s which led to a drastic reduction in capacity utilization and outright closure of industries in Nigeria. Also, the economic policies of the then administration, such as the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), devaluation of the naira, privatization and commercialization of the economy, resulted in massive job losses in both the private and public sectors in the country.

It was as a direct response to the rising trend of unemployment that the then military government set up a committee and charged it with the task of proffering a sustainable interventionist solution to reduce the increasing rate of unemployment in Nigeria. The committee discovered that the informal sector of the economy had only operators and employees who were mainly low-skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled. Therefore, the situation placed skills acquisition and training on the front burner as regards job creation. Thus, with Act CAP 250, the NDE was given a legal backing as an employment agency statutorily charged with the responsibility of combating mass unemployment.

Committee members fault the performance of the power regulatory agency.

Some committee members, which included Hon. Adedeji Olajide and Hon. Zacharia Yanpan, picked holes in the performance of the power regulatory agency. They said that the government cannot continue to fund them. Hon. Olajide said, “The agency [NEMSA] is sucking the blood of Nigerian citizens and should be merged with other agencies performing similar functions.” The managing director of NEMSA and the director-general of the NDE were present at the investigative hearing that also featured the National Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMC) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

The Managing Director of NEMSA, Engr. Aliyu Tukur, said during his presentation that the agency was established in 2015 by the Federal Government to ensure that there were reliable electricity supplies. He added that the foremost responsibility of the agency was to ensure that materials used in the industry suited the technical specifications and is of good metering quality. Also, while giving his presentation, the Director-General of the NDE, Mr. Abubakar Nuhu, said that the agency was established to ensure that there was employment for Nigerians. He said the agency has presence in all the states of the federation and local council areas and had been providing employment and skills for unemployed Nigerians in line with the mandate.

Chairman of the committee said the NDE was not providing jobs.

However, the chairman of the committee and another member, Hon. Simon Karu, said that the agency was not providing jobs for the youth. The committee therefore adopted the motion by Karu for the NDE to provide a 5-year performance assessment report on employment generation or be recommended for merger. The committee gave the agency one week to submit the report. The committee also threatened to withdraw allocation to the National Power Training Institute in the 2023 National Budget for not addressing the issue of power failures in the country.

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NEMSA: Website

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