The Deputy Governor, Economic Policy of the central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Sarah Alade has said that the establishment of Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP) by CBN was designed as an interventionist model in the real sector of the economy and job creation effort.
She explained that the programme was internet-based and aimed at improving access to finance and markets, fostering trade and investments, and enhancing the ability of young entrepreneurs to more effectively tap the opportunities offered by the programme and global production value chain.
She also stressed the importance of the youth entrepreneurship programme in addressing the urgent need to meaningfully engage Nigerian youths, who now form over 70 percent of the population, in productive activities.
Y IEDP is implemented in collaboration with Heritage Bank and the NYSC.
It would be recalled that the Governor of the apex bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele in his address said “The importance of small businesses to building a strong economic base that is resilient to global fluctuations”.
Relying on the figures by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) youth unemployment rate at 42.24 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.
He lamented that entrepreneurship among Nigerian youths had been hindered by low capacity and funding despite the abundance of opportunities, observing that the challenge of accessibility to funds has made many youths to jettison their laudable ideas in pursuit of white collar jobs, while many educated youths had been exposed to societal ills, as their dreams from their academic pursuit could not be realized.
Few weeks ago, the Federal Bureau of Statistics said the number of people that were unemployed or underemployed increased from 24.4 million as at the end of the first quarter of 2016 to 26.06 million persons.
Business development pundits say the way forward for the economy is to grow the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), but figures reveal that the 37.1 million MSMEs in the country of which 99 per cent are micro enterprises have the capacity to employ 59.7 million people. To address the unemployment challenge in the country, the real sector, particularly MSMEs need to be empowered, encouraged to grow and given more priority as they have a high job creating potential.
N3 million would be made available to each eligible youth, while recipients who were on records to have made good utilization of the funds would be encouraged to migrate to other CBN intervention schemes On collateral requirements for the participation in the programme, he said the bank would make such assets including academic and NYSC certificates, third party guarantees and other moveable assets as collateral for all the successful candidates.
CBN therefore charged the youth corps members selected to receive facilities under the YIEDP to judiciously utilize the funds by engaging in productive ventures such as rice, cassava and tomatoes farming. This is even as he emphasized that the credit facility was not a grant but a loan that would be repaid at a single digit interest rate.
Key facts attached to the scheme indicate that the programme is targeted at providing needed training and funding for startups; the young and creative minds in the country. The CBN governor stressed that the programme would provide timely and affordable credit to assist youths in implementing their business ideas, thereby providing the mechanism for stimulating growth, reducing unemployment as well as addressing youth restiveness.