Stimulating Wealth Generation through National Youth Fund
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the establishment of the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, NYIF.
The fund in tune of seventy five billion naira for three years is for innovative ideas, skills and talent of Nigerian youth to provide a special window for accessing funds, finances, business management skills and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise.
Establishment of the fund followed the approval of a memo by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare.
Mr. Dare had noted that investing in youth through the establishment of a specialized fund was capable of increasing the country’s gross domestic products, G.D.P.
To this end, the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development has been directed to put necessary machinery in motion for the implementation and legislation of the NYIF in collaboration with relevant MDAs.
Also, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria are to source for the required funds to kick start the programme.
The programme, first of its kind by any Nigerian government, is to serve as a youth bank that will fund and support the innovative ideas, skills, talents and enterprise of the Nigerian youth, a loan and credit pathway dedicated to assessing credit and soft loans.
The funds will be distributed through micro-credit banks to beneficiaries within the age bracket of eighteen and thirty five years.
Youths and sports minister pointed out that President Buhari through the establishment of NYIF had demonstrated his unflinching support for the Nigerian youth and his implicit confidence in their innovative talents and potential industry.
He explained that once the youths present their ideas, the funds could be assessed directly.
Mr. Dare however emphasised that it required collective effort at providing adequate resources to meet the basic needs of the teeming youth.
The minister explained that the funds would not just be randomly distributed among youths, but would be used to assist most qualified ones with genuine business ideas.
He maintained that youths who fall within the stipulated age bracket with genuine business ideas could approach any of the one hundred and twenty five micro-credit banks across the country to access the fund.
The youth and sports minister assured that the scheme would be closely supervised by the ministry and would not be hijacked by politicians.
This is no doubt a commendable venture, being one of the latest schemes of the federal government since the declaration of a nationwide lockdown to ease the effects of the lockdown on Nigerians and stimulate the economy.
A report by the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, shows that rate of unemployment in Nigeria may rise to thirty three point five percent this year from the current rate pegged at twenty three point one percent.
NECA attributed lack of employment opportunities and the shutdown of several companies as reasons for the renewed fears.
It is imperative that necessary machinery be put in place to implement the youth investment fund to reduce the effects of unemployment among this category of people.