The Federal Government of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BoI) on Thursday officially launched a N10 billion Youths Entrepreneurship Support (YES) project to empower graduates across the nation.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, applauded the initiative adding that his ministry would partner all government agencies to increase the number of jobs in the country.
He noted that more than 40 per cent of Nigerian graduates are jobless, with an average of eight million Nigerians entering the job market annually.
According to the minister, the project which is aimed at developing the entrepreneurial capacity of youths within the age bracket of 18-35, will allow each beneficiary access loans for the procurement of machinery and equipment as well as working capital.
He appealed to prospective beneficiaries to repay the loans for the success and sustenance of the project, stating that the programme would lead to the establishment and the expansion of an estimated 1,200 enterprises promoted by Nigerian youths.
He emphasized that the ‘YES’ project of the Bank of Industry was part of the Federal Government’s youths employment scheme, stressing that the initiative would result in the creation of about 36,000 jobs annually.
In addition, the acting Managing Director of BoI, Mr Waheed Olagunju, said that a participants could access up to N10 million loan with single digit interest rate and repayable over a three to five year period, adding that the eligibility criteria must be an NYSC or higher education certificate.
According to Olagunju, the YES project is aimed at establishing global best practices by instilling a culture of innovation-driven entrepreneurship and ethics in the participants, which will in turn change their job-seeking mindset and make them eligible for small businesses.
Also speaking, was the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who said that his state was partnering with BoI on job creation, as the North Central state recently acquired stakes in Peugeot Automobile