Indeed, only a great fool cannot be grateful. The federal government has done noble by increasing the monthly allowances of members of the National Youth Service (NYSC) from N19, 500 to N33, 000.
“33K no be small tinooo”, as we would say in our local parlance. No matter how big or little some will see it; it is a commendable gesture by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government. The most important thing is that, there is a change in the allowance which is much better than what it used to be.
For many serving corps members across the country, the increment in their ‘allawee’ remains the greatest news that heralded the New Year 2020.
I am optimistic that notwithstanding the slow pace at which our country Nigeria is growing, someday it will be better. Now that corps members’ allowances have been jerked up, it shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to engage in extravagant and ostentatious lifestyles.
Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity to engage in more savings ahead of life after the service year.
The labour market is already saturated as tertiary institutions continue to churn out more graduates year after year with fewer job opportunities.
The implication is that serving corps members must begin to think out of the box on how they can become self reliant and live independent lives after their service instead of waiting endlessly for ‘white collar jobs’.
A simple arithmetic shows that a corps member who collects N33,000 monthly would have earned N396,000 at the service year.
The N33,000 new allawee for corps members is even higher than the N30,000 minimum wage which civil servants across the federationare anxiously waiting for governors to implement.
From the amount that accrues from this increment, a prudent and wise corps member would have been able to save some reasonable amount to begin a small scale business at the end of his or her service year.
Good enough, the management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has introduced vocational training and skills programmes as part of the orientation course. This on its part, is a commendable gesture which must not be taken for granted by the beneficiaries-corps members.
Through that, corps members were exposed to skills such as fish farming, bee keeping, poultry farming, animal husbandry, cosmetology, tailoring, decorations and phone repairs, amongst others.
It then behooves on corps members to utilize this golden opportunity to prepare for better and brighter future.
Besides the training and skills acquisitions given to corps members at the orientation, there is need for them to acquire additional skills out there as what they acquired at the camp might not be enough.
Corps members must not see the increment as a mere “national cake” or windfall that must be frittered away in frivolity.
You must remember that your ‘allawee’ must stop at the end of the service year but life goes on thereafter. Life after service year could be challenging if not well planned.
That is the more reason you must not sacrifice your future on the altar of pleasure. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!
Deborah Ugweje, writes from Abia State