Speaking at the event, in Abuja, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, vows to tackle youth unemployment and underemployment in the country.
He said, “With about 600,000 students graduating yearly from Nigerian tertiary institutions, and without the commensurate employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, it has become imperative that government, at all levels, puts in place policy measures to support entrepreneurial development among our youth.
“Such measures would create an enabling business ecosystem that supports innovation and enables the youth to unleash their entrepreneurial potential, by redirecting their focus from seeking white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship development.
“The ecosystem should provide support in re-orientating, training, and providing a financing model apt to the peculiarity of the sector within which the businesses operate.”
Mr. Emefiele described entrepreneurship as an integral part of any economy, and that “entrepreneurs play a key role in driving growth and innovation, which in turn results in job creation.”
The TIES, he explained would create an ecosystem that allowed the flow of affordable credit to the real sectors of the economy.
He added, “With an estimated population of 213 million, out of which two-third are youth, aged under 35 years, the nation is faced with a historic opportunity, particularly as the demography continues to create clear evidence of their relevance to economic development, as accentuated by the global recognition of Nigerian tech start-ups and continued growth of businesses in the technology space owned by the youth.
“In realization of this, the CBN has introduced several innovative financing programs designed to extend low-cost financing to youth entrepreneurs across the country. These interventions have continued to receive resounding commendations, as they have proven effective in extending credit to youth entrepreneurs across the country.
“For instance, under its Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), the Bank has disbursed a total of ₦363.49 billion to 766,719 beneficiaries, comprising 638,070 households and 128, 649 small businesses. Under its Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), the Bank has released ₦134.63 billion to 37,571 entrepreneurs. Disbursements under the NYIF stood at ₦3.00 billion to 7,057 small business beneficiaries.”
The scheme consisted of three segments: The Term Loan Component; The Equity Investment Component; The Developmental Grant Component.
The loan component provides direct credit opportunities to graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities of not more than seven years post-graduation.
An applicant, if successful, is eligible for a maximum of ₦5 million for an individual, sole-proprietorship or small company; and a maximum of ₦25 million for a partnership or company. The tenor for the facility is maximum of five (5) years, with a one-year moratorium, and at an interest of 5 per cent per annum, which shall revert to 9 per cent from March 2022.
Mr. Abubakar Suleiman of Sterling Bank heads a Body of Experts which was inaugurated to access the proposals by applicants.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, in a message noted that entrepreneurship was the way to go for Nigeria youths, given that there were not enough jobs in both public and private institutions for all graduates.