The Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Frank Nweke, has advised that some fraction of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) fund should be rerouted to the education sector.
Nweke made the call when he spoke at the Warwick University alumni dinner held in Lagos, and stressed that youth education was important for national development.
“It might therefore be a good idea to redeploy these savings to fund education. This may be in the form of education subsidies to students at all levels targeted appropriately at those that can’t afford education or in the form of student loans that would be repaid to government over a long period of time after completion of studies,” he explained.
Nweke recalled the issue of subsidy removal in Nigeria had generated a lot of controversy such that in 2012, government’s announcement to withdraw fuel subsidy was resisted by most people in the country.
“However, several months down the line the SURE-P continues to generate controversies,” he added.
The NESG boss commended President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, describing it as being “visionary by targeting youths in agriculture and other youths through initiatives like the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) and Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin).”
“These programmes are very good initiatives and a step in the right direction. However, more need to be done in ensuring that these programmes do not end with this administration.
“Institutional reforms, enabling regulatory frameworks and domestication of these initiatives at the state and local government levels will be required if these initiatives are to have a long term impact on the future and self-reliance status of Nigerian youths,” Nweke declared.