- FEC has approved Nigerian youth investment fund
- The fund is meant to assist qualified candidates with genuine business ideas
- According to the FG, the money can be accessed through any of the 125 microcredit banks across the country
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, July 22, in Abuja approved the establishment of a N75billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to support enterprise among Nigeria’s 68 million youth between 18 and 35.
The minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Dare, the fund is meant to assist qualified candidates with genuine business ideas, and can approach any of the 125 micro credit banks across the country to access it.
He said: “For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Federal Executive Council today approved the establishment of the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to the tune of N75 billion.
“This fund is meant to create a special window for accessing credit facilities and financing on the part of our youths that will help to fund their ideas, innovations and also support their enterprise.
“The best way to call it is that for the first time the country will have a youth bank.
“A fund that will cater specifically for our youths within the stipulated age bracket which is going to be between 18 and 35 years.’’
Dare assured that the scheme would not be hijacked by politicians as only genuine candidates would benefit from the funds.
He stated that his ministry would play a lead role in working on necessary steps needed to be taken in terms of legislation, organisation and other aspects of financing of the scheme.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will take the lead when it comes to the aspect of financing, working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and other relevant MDAs.
“A couple of other details will be released later, but I think the most important thing is that the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund, to cater specifically for this target group, a population of over 68 million, got the attention and support of the Federal Executive Council today.
“This fund will be assessed by our youths, once they are able to present their ideas, they can assess this fund directly,’’ he further explained.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that the federal government through the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has declared that beneficiaries of the N-Power programme have been disengaged from June.
Disengaging thousands of youths at this critical period is quite baffling, given the fact that many of them will be condemned to a life of hardship since most will not be able to secure any job at all as a result of the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Though, the government has not announced if there would be exit packages for the 'new jobless' young Nigerians but it is necessary that the government set aside a substantial sum of money to assist beneficiaries who can boast of clear business plans if it insists on sacking them.
With this, I recommend that the government should give a minimum of N200,000 as an exit package for all of them and a minimum of N1 million loan for those with viable business plans. The money should be collateral and interest-free and open to all of them without bias.
It should be noted that most of these youths are being held back from starting one business or the other because of capital. The government can do the right thing now by giving them the money needed.
I also want to encourage the FG to trash the idea that beneficiaries should have started a viable business with their monthly N30,000 stipends. It is not as easy as that. Transport, feeding, calls, health etc are not free. In fact, some of these beneficiaries are the ones taking care of their families. And most of those who claimed to have started one business or the other with the stipends have some additional support they refused to disclose.