By Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole
The Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, has identified inadequate funding as the major challenge hampering the scheme’s Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme.
Ibrahim stated this on Monday at the 2021 NYSC SAED stakeholders’ meeting and training of desk officers in Abuja.
A statement issued by the Director, Press and Public Relations, NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi, quoted Ibrahim as saying that despite paucity of funds, the scheme has recorded tremendous success in the implementation of the programme.
He said: “The scheme will not rest on its oars in its quest to sustain and build on the achievements made within the last one year towards making corps members employers of labour.
“The major challenges of the SAED programme are inadequate finance for Corps Empowerment, which include skill and entrepreneurial training facilities, business start-up capital, access to mentorship as well as insufficient bilateral and multilateral collaborations.
“Despite the unusual situation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant dislocation of many businesses in 2020, it is gratifying that so much has been achieved.”
Ibrahim urged participants at the training to make deliberations that would lead to the expansion of the existing collaborations as well as developing new ones.
Corps members, he said, are equal and laden with same potential irrespective of state of deployment and urged the SAED stakeholders to spread the opportunities of empowerment across the country in order to enhance national development.
The Director, Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme, Hilary Nasamu, said as a result of the fallout of the 2020 edition of the programme, participant stakeholders expressed commitment to provide resources to tackle the challenges and chart a brighter way for the economic empowerment of corps members.
He said: “Despite the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the scheme made a positive difference and improved the scorecard of the NYSC SAED initiative.”
He listed the successes recorded to include NYSC-BOI partnership, NYSC-Unity Bank Partnership, NYSC-BATNF Partnership, NYSC-EDC Partnership, NYSC-Access Bank Partnership, NYSC-LFN Partnership, and NYSC-NIRSAL MFB collaboration, among others.
According to him, “In order to step up the quality of training for corps members, the scheme has started the process of re-energizing the involvement of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) including Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), among others.”
Nasamu disclosed that Access Bank is now partnering with NYSC-SAED for direct financial empowerment for corps members through a competitive programme known as the lions’ den.
He said winners in the programme received a package of business mentoring and funding totalling N3 million corps members per camp and N9 million for 30 winners in states.