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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Heritage Bank Plc yesterday began the disbursement of a total sum of N774 million to 310 of the Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP).
The scheme was launched by the apex bank in March as part of the apex bank’s efforts to reduce the country’s unemployment rate, which had increased to 13.3 percent in the second quarter and currently 13.7 percent.
The beneficiaries were youths whose business proposals were found worthy for the initial disbursement.
The programme seeks to ensure that the creative energies of the over 64 million Nigerian youths are harnessed to stimulate growth, address restiveness and promote economic development.
The CBN is partnering the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and Heritage Bank in the pilot scheme, which started seven months ago, to inspire and harvest the entrepreneurial abilities of Nigerian youths towards creating over 1 million direct jobs by 2020.
Speaking at the disbursement ceremony in Abuja, Emefiele said YEDP had the potential of becoming the stimulus for job and wealth creation, growth and economic development through improved access to finance by these young entrepreneurs.
Some of the beneficiaries who received N3 million each planned to invest in leather, poultry and fish production among others.
Represented by CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Alhaji Suleyman Barau, Emefiele further congratulated the young entrepreneurs who had been screened and successfully submitted bankable projects that were being currently funded.
CBN commended Heritage Bank for its painstaking effort to buy into the vision of job creation and piloting the programme to a successful stage and urged them to make judicious use of the loans to grow their businesses towards realizing the objectives of the programme as well as pay back at single digit interest rate so others could also benefit from the scheme.
Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo said beneficiaries would get the fund as soon as certain concerns over the stringent conditions for accessing the loans by beneficiaries are addressed.
There are signals that both the CBN and Heritage Bank will be meeting with officials from both the NYSC to fine-tuned existing conditions which appeared to distort the ability of beneficiaries to access the facilities.
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