The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele has flagged-off the N210 billion Youth Entrepreneur Development Programme (YEDP) for a successful 1,350 pioneer youths applicants under its Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development fund programme targeted at creating one million jobs in the productive sector of the economy.
Following the launch of the programme in June, 2016, successful applicants aged between 18 – 35 years who were qualified by the Heritage bank (lending bank), having undergone an entrepreneurial training were selected to partake in the flagship programme where a maximum of N3million can be loaned to them.
At the flag-off programme yesterday in Abuja, Mr Emefiele said that the growth of small businesses is the key element to building a strong economic base that is resilient to global fluctuations.
According to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), rate of unemployment reached 12.1per cent in the first quarter of 2016; also out of the youth labour force of 38.2 people representing 47.8 per cent of total labour of Nigeria, a total of 15.2 million youths were either unemployed or underemployed during the first quarter of 2016. This represent youth unemployment rate of 42 per cent.
This programme according to the governor will arrest the problem of unemployment and youth restiveness if the youths are willing to exhibit highest level of probity of taking and repaying the loan.
“Entrepreneurships among youths have beenhindered by low capacity and funding, making many youths to jettison their laudable ideas. Their inability to access funding has been the bane of developing the ideas of many enterprising youths in Nigeria.”
“Unfortunately, not many organisations are hiring, but we know that the youth have ideas and with the type of training they have gone through, we are afforded with the opportunity to work with them, to nurture their dreams to not only become entrepreneurs but also employers of labour,” he said.