Nigeria faces several demographic challenges in the coming years. One of these is the Republic’s projected growth rate, by the year 2030 Nigeria’s population is set to increase by an estimated 84 million. About half of the population of Nigeria is under the age of 25 and the youth unemployment rate stands at about 50%.
The Muhammadu Buhari administration, through the Bank of Industry, on Thursday formally launched a N10 billion “Youths Entrepreneurship Support” (YES) project to empower youth with loans to start businesses.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Abuja, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said his ministry would partner all agencies of government to create new jobs. He said more than 40% of Nigerian graduates had no jobs and that an average of eight million Nigerians enter the job market annually.
The minister said that the ‘YES’ project of BoI was part of the Federal Government’s youth employment scheme, saying that about 36,000 jobs would be created annually through ‘YES’. He appealed to prospective beneficiaries to repay the loans for the success and sustenance of the project.
Waheed Olagunju, the acting Managing Director of BoI, said that a participant under the scheme could access up to N10 million loan with a single digit interest rate repayable over three to five years. He said that an applicant must present NYSC (Nigerian Youth Service Corps.) or higher education certificate as collateral to qualify for the loan with two external guarantors.
Olagunju said that the bank was partnering with 11 consultants across the country for the first phase of the project.
Afolabi Imokhuede, a Special Assistant to the Vice President, said job creation was at the heart of the current administration. He said that government intended to create 3.5 million jobs in the next three years.
Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, said that the state was partnering with BoI on job creation. He also said that the State had been able to take controlling shares in Peugeot Automobile Nigeria with the assistance of BoI. This comes a a worthwhile development in addressing unemployment, specifically in Northern Nigeria. Unemployment could effectively be addressed with the aid of manufacturing companies bringing in jobs.
(With information from NAN)