As part of its development finance interventions, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday presented loans of N3 million each to 310 beneficiaries of the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP).
The amount was meant to help them start their various business initiatives, according to Central Bank governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, during a ceremony to symbolically present cheques to the beneficiaries at the apex bank’s headquarters.
Represented by Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Suleiman Barau, the governor advised beneficiaries to make judicious use of the fund which he said was re-payable loans and not a grant.
“You will recall that YEDP was introduced in March 2016 by the bank as part of efforts to reduce the nation’s unemployment rate which had increased to 13.3 per cent in the second quarter of this year.
“The programme was also to ensure that the creative energies of the over 64 million Nigerian youths are harnessed to stimulate growth, address restiveness and promote economic development.
“To realise this objective, the bank in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and Heritage Bank began the pilot seven months ago, to inspire and harvest the entrepreneurial abilities of Nigerian youths towards creating over one million direct jobs by 2020,” he said.
YEDP is CBN anchored in partnership with Hetriage Bank and NYSC. It is open to youths between 18 and 35 years who are serving Corp members, graduates or artisans.
Another batch of beneficiaries whose applications are at different stages of documentation process would be followed soon.
In a remark, NYSC Director- General, Brig. Gen. Sule Kazaure, said “With this programme, most of our youths will be self employed and will be able to employ others. So, I believe it is a good initiative.”
On the extra conditions being introduced to the programme, he said “The NYSC, CBN and other stakeholders will take a look at them to see how they can be reviewed.
Also speaking, Executive Director, Lagos/South West Corporate Banking, Mrs Mary Akpobome, said the bank will accommodate and consider more applications after first batch beneficiaries.
“The initial applications we harvested were 100,000 and we were looking for 1,000. Presently we have 7,000 applicants waiting, after now we will accommodate more and the process continues,” she said.