James Emejo in Abuja
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has commenced training programme for the 976 corp members qualified to access N2 billion under the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) scheme, which is currently in its second phase.
The shortlisted applicants from the six geo-political zones were selected after a careful appraisal of applications submitted to the bank.
After undergoing intensive capacity development programme and upon submission of bankable projects, successful applicants will have the opportunity to get a maximum of N2 million at 9 per cent interest rate, payable over a three to four year period.
The scheme is an ongoing collaboration between the development finance institution and the directorate of the National Youth Service Corps, to encourage graduates of tertiary institutions in the country to become employers of labour rather than job seekers.
Speaking in Katsina State during the opening ceremony of the four-day in-class capacity building programme for participants, acting Managing Director of BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju said the initiative was designed to empower the Nigerian youth, knowing that government alone could not sufficiently address the unemployment situation in the country.
He said: ‘’At the end of the training and by the deadline of February 15, 2016 for the submission of loan applications, a total of 361 candidates had submitted requests for an aggregate sum of N695.16 million spanning across 27 out of the 40 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) product clusters identified by BOI.
“Subsequently, a total loan of N439.8 million was approved for 260 candidates and 140 projects have so far been fully implemented with a total sum of N194.4 million disbursed.
“These young Nigerians have not only taken themselves out of the job markets, but have become employers of labour such that their businesses have created 560 direct jobs and over 2,000 indirect jobs.”
Represented by the Divisional Head, SME North, Mr. Omar Shekarau, Olagunju explained that the second edition of the scheme was embarked upon based on the success of the first edition which saw 140 projects fully implemented with a total sum of N194.4 million disbursed.
He said that the programme created560 direct and over 2,000 indirect employment.
He added that the first phase had recorded a total of 896 participants at the 3-day capacity building programme which was held from 18th to 21st November 2015 at seven designated training centres across the country.
Also speaking at the event, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Development and Chairman of the State’s NYSC Board, Alhaji Ibrahim Aminu commended the bank’s initiatives geared at encouraging youth entrepreneurship.
Aminu, however, challenged the corps members to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the scheme and the NYSC through GEF to become better versions of themselves and improve their society by floating viable businesses which would help create jobs.