BoI, Other Partners Boost NYSC Entrepreneurship Scheme With N3.6bn
Bank of Industry has disclosed that it has, along other partners, supported the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with a whooping N3.6 billion as startup loans since the inception of the NYSC Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development.
The industrial bank made the disclosure at the closing ceremony of the 2021 NYSC Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) festival held in Abuja on Friday.
“So far, BOI and other partners have donated N3.6 billion as setup loans to over 1000 beneficiaries. Several measures have been put in place such as inflation of market negatives for an improved framework for effective monitoring of projects despite the obvious challenges in the business environment,” the bank noted.
Speaking as a special guest of honour, Wife of the President Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, urged captains of industries and financial institutions to grant more access to credit facilities and venture capitals to corps members and entrepreneurs.
Represented by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, Aisha Buhari said: “I am particularly delighted that the NYSC has sustained the SAED Festival since its maiden edition in 2017. This underscores the fact that in its 48 years of existence, the scheme has continued to play a significant role in nation-building.
“This role has included promoting national unity, integration, and providing manpower for critical sectors of the economy. The current focus on youth entrepreneurship through the SAED has taken the scheme’s relevance to a higher level,
I call on captains of industries and financial institutions to grant more access to credit facilities and venture capitals to these corps members and entrepreneurs.
“The NYSC has a large pool of skilled youth corps members that are ready to assert their role in the economy if given the right motivation.
The level of skills and the quality of products exhibited by the corps members during the festival attest to the fact that Nigeria has the potential manpower to grow in leaps and bounds.
“I urge, you not to rest on your oars but continue to expand your horizon to become role models to the thousands of youth coming after you.
I commend the NYSC Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim and the management of the scheme for their doggedness in sustaining the relevance of the scheme through the SAD programme,” she said.
In his address, the Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, disclosed that over 1.409,000 Corps members have been sensitized on the need for self-empowerment.
He added that out of the number, 764,677 have so far completed the full skill and entrepreneurship training while up to 18,682 have set up businesses through self-help, Bank loans and grants.
“We have continued in our strides for the success of the programme with the support of partners such as the Bank of Industry. Access Bank, Unity Bank, Leventis Foundation Nigeria, British-America Tobacco Foundation and others too numerous to mention.
“Parts of the gains of our collaborations are empowerment of Corps members with financial grants and loans for the actualization of their business plans as well as the establishment of zonal skills training centres across the country.
“I am happy to inform this gathering that Corps members in successive batches have shown more than a passing interest in the SAED programme.
“Since the institutionalization of the SAED programme, up to 1.409,000 Corps have been sensitized on the need for self-empowerment. Out of these, 764,677 have so far completed the full skill and entrepreneurship training while up to 18,682 have set up businesses through self-help, Bank loans and grants from donors,’ he said.
Enumerating the challenges confronting SAED, General Shuaibu said: “Even as we celebrate our accomplishments today, I will not fail to point out that the SAED implementation is not without some challenges.
“Principal amongst them are the shortage of logistics for training and the limited funding opportunities that see only a fraction of these Corps entrepreneurs able to access start-up capital. This partly informed the proposal for the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps Trust Fund (NYSCTF).
“Apart from helping with provision of adequate operational infrastructure for the success of the Scheme, the Fund will make the SAED programme more impactful especially through provision of training logistics and start-up finances to actualize business plans of the Corps entrepreneurs,” he noted.