Okechukwu Enelamah

*BoI targets 6,000 jobs annually
James Emejo in Abuja

Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah on Thursday officially inaugurated the Bank of Industry (BoI)’s N10billion-Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) scheme, aimed at developing the entrepreneurial capacity of youths and providing start up loans at concessionary interest rates to executive their business plans.

The scheme will allow each of the eligible beneficiaries to access a maximum of N5 million loan for the procurement of machinery and equipment, including working capital.

The loans are to be accessed at a single digit interest rate of 9 per cent, with a tenor of three to five years, inclusive of a six-month moratorium, the minister explained.

Enelamah said the initiative would help create and expand about 1,200 enterprises promoted by Nigerian youths nationwide.

He said:”The YES scheme that is being launched today, therefore provides an opportunity for the BoI to address the worrisome phenomenon by developing the capacity of the youths with a view to ultimately funding their business plans, aimed at equipping them to be self-employed by starting and managing their own businesses as well as eventually becoming employers of labour.”

Noting that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are critical bedrock of any economy wishing to develop, he said about 1.8 million young Nigerians enter the already saturated labour market on annually.

He said the new scheme is expected to create a minimum of 6,000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs yearly.

Also speaking at occasion, acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Rasheed Olagunju said the key objectives of the initiative are to create an interactive learning platform to train young aspiring entrepreneurs in Entrepreneurship, Business Management and Technical Skills that will ultimately translate into improved efficiency and productivity, as well as rekindle the entrepreneurial spirit of youths and act as an incubation centre where business ideas are nurtured to their full potential.

He said the YES scheme further aims to entrench global best practices by inculcating a culture of innovation-driven entrepreneurship and ethics in the participants, promote self-employment among graduates of tertiary institutions, and deepen financial inclusion by de-risking the young aspiring entrepreneurs and making them eligible for small business loans.

He said contrary to the conventional loan requirement plan, the latest initiative has a liberal collateral requirements, including NYSC certificates, approved guarantors among others.

He said:”The collateral requirements for the loan are as follows: Debenture over the assets of the company or specific charge over the equipment (present and future); Deposit of original NYSC certificate and higher educational certificate (Ordinary National Diploma, Higher National Diploma or University Degree) with BOI. This will be subject to the certificate being certified by Background Check International (BCI).

He added that beneficiaries would need to provide two external guarantors acceptable to BoI who must belong to any of a Senior Civil Servant (Level 12 and above who should not be more than 53 years old or not more than 28 years in service (whichever comes first); Bankers (not below the level of Assistant Manager) and must have been confirmed by current employer.