The Senate Committee on Sports has called for increase in daily feeding allowance paid to National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, saying the move was in consideration of the corps members contribution to national development.
The lawmakers argued that it was worrisome that corps members, who devoted their talents, skills in the service of the nation for one year, were paid N600 as daily meal allowance as against the payment of N1,000 daily meal allowance to prisoners by the Nigerian Correctional Service.
The committee’s chairman, Senator Obinna Ogba, who decried the decreasing yearly budgetary allocations to the ministry, called for increased allocation of fund in its 2022 budget, given the importance of sports to youth development.
The lawmaker who made the call in Abuja on Tuesday, while submitting the committee’s 2022 budget defence report of Ministry of Sports and Youth Development to Senate Committee on Appropriations, said adequate fund was required to drive sports development, which ultimately would drive development of youths and the economy at large.
He said it was the responsibility of the government to provide enabling environment such as security, sports Infrastructure, like adequate stadiums, to attract investors and drive investments in the sports industry.
“Money is required for development of sports in the country,” Ogba said. He said that the five billion naira, budgeted in the ministries’ 2022 capital expenditure was grossly inadequate for sports development and mobilisation of youths into sporting activities.
Collaborating Ogba’s position, a member of the committee, Sen. Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi) said that there was an urgent need to increase funding to the ministry, adding that the committee had the ability to ensure improved allocation. Adeyemi noted that investment in sports industry would improve the economy, noting that sport was a big time business in other nations.
He advocated for provision of a “Special Fund “from the appropriation committee, adding that sport would provide jobs for unemployed youths and discourage social vices. Chairman of the committee, Sen. Barau Jibril (APC-Kano) said that there was need to have a “Master Plan” to drive sports development in the country.
He also said that private sector investment was the trend in sports development across the world. Barau also said that the Federal Government was investing much in youth development by earmarking funds in the budget for development of youths via its various humanitarian programmes.
However, Sen. Stella Oduah (APC-Anambra) said that the budget of the ministry did not appear to speak toward development of youths. Oduah said that there was need to revert to the planning stages of sports development, noting that the basics of youth development via sports must be put in place.
Other committees, that submitted their budget reports to the appropriation committee were committees on Air Force, Drugs and Narcotic, Trade and Investment, Ecology, among others.