Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to give three million naira each to empower eligible youths under the Youth Initiative Empowerment Development Programme (YIEDP), the Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said. Emefiele made the disclosure at the launch of YIEDP in Abuja on Tuesday. He said “the programme is open to youths who are either serving in the National Youth Service Corps or those who have not spent more than five years post NYSC service.
“Credit line will be made available up to three million naira to each eligible youth, thereby fixing the problem of inadequate finance often encountered by business start-ups. “And receptions that utilise the funds properly can be encouraged to migrate to the other CBN interventions wherein they access more funds.’’ Emefiele said that N210 billion had been set aside for the programme and added that the collateral for accessing the fund was simple. “It will include assets, such as academic and NYSC certificates, third party guarantees and other movable assets.
“This programmes will be an equal opportunity programme across gender and geo-political zones and we have developed a robust operational framework to deliver a bias-free per-qualification and selection process.’’ He said that CBN was targeting 10,000 youths with the aim of creating one million direct jobs in productive activities within the next four years. According to Emefiele, the National Bureau of Statistics says that there are over 36.3million youths in Nigeria’s labour force out of whom 13.6 million are either underemployed or unemployed. He noted that many talented youth in the country were constrained by seed funding which was very scarce. He explained that to address the situation, CBN in collaboration with NYSC came up with the initiative.
The CBN governor commended the efforts of the Director-General of NYSC, Brig Gen Johnson Olawumi, and Mr Akinsola Akinfemiwa, Chairman, Heritage Bank for their commitment to the programme. Also, the NYSC director-general said YIEDP focused at providing world class training and start- up capital to corps members who had indicated interest in Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship (SAED).
Olawunmi said the initiative was designed to complement the other interventions in funding corps members’ proposals under the NYSC SAED programme. He explained that since the inception of SAED, the NYSC scheme had trained over 500,000 ex-corps members in various agro-based skills but not all were empowered due to inadequate funds. He noted that under the new concept of YIEDP which had liberalised the lending terms, corps member entrepreneurs would enjoy unhindered access to start-up funds. He explained that corps members who intended to access the fund were expected to undergo a world class entrepreneurship development training facilitated by CBN and heritage bank.
“ They will submit electronically, a bankable business plans as well as provide a reliable guarantor and their NYSC certificates will serve as collateral for beneficiaries,’’ he said. He admonished serving corps members to take advantage of the opportunity by coming up with creative ideas and bankable business plans which could make them access the fund. In his remark, the Chairman of Heritage Bank Akinfemiwa, said the major partners to the programme were NYSC members and urged them to strive to be employers of labour and not job seekers. Akinfemiwa also urged the youths to generate good ideas as it was the only way to ensure that the money that would be given to them was properly used.