Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel, Development, has called on youths to take advantage of the N75 billion Youth Investment Fund that was established by the Federal Government.
A statement by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr Ayodeji Adeyemi on Monday in Abuja, said that Adegbite made the call at a series of town hall meetings held with youths in three senatorial districts in Ogun at the weekend.
He said that the Fund was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to nurture and develop entrepreneurship spirit among the youth.
Adegbite said that Buhari was interested in nurturing entrepreneurship skills among the youths, as he viewed them as the leaders of tomorrow.
He said that the Buhari-administration had designed a lot of programmes aimed at helping the youths and giving them good livelihoods.
“President Buhari’s administration has set aside a N75 billion fund, which is meant to assist youths who have good business ideas but no capital to back such ideas up.
“I want to encourage everyone here who has a good idea to apply for the funds. You can get more details if you go to the website of the Ministry of Youths and Sport Development,” he said.
He said that a minimum of N25 billion had been set aside for each year for the next three years, making a total of N75 billion.
“Indeed, the president considers Nigerian youths as a resource to be harnessed and not a problem, which is the reason behind the initiation of the fund.
“This programme joins a few of other youth- oriented programmes, initiated by President Buhari to combat youth unemployment with the objective of driving innovation among youths.”
The loan is aimed to fund about 500,000 youths from 2020 to 2023.
It has an approval range of between N250,000 and N50 million, with a spread across group and individual applications.
It is intended as a working capital, as one-year term loan, set at three years with a single-digit interest rate of five per cent.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (MFBNP) and the CBN will provide the financing to kick-start the fund disbursement through various channels.
The channels include micro-credit organisations across the country, under the CBN and supported by the Bank of Industry (BoI), Fintech organisations and venture capital organisations registered with the CBN.
Besides, Adegbite called on the youth to patronise local products, instead of foreign ones, saying that such approach would aid efforts to create more employment.
“If you know any young Nigerian who makes clothes, we should all patronise him or her, instead of buying imported designer clothes.
“We should equally buy shoes made by Nigerians, instead of foreign ones. That’s the only way we can grow our economy and create jobs,” he said.
Speaking on the mining sector, the minister noted that the sector needed huge funds for its exploration projects.
“Our focus is now on de-risking the sector by providing up-to-date and comprehensive data on mineral occurrences in Nigeria to woo more investors and create a friendly environment through favourable incentives,” he said.
Adegbite said that the ongoing National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) was the government’s rapid response to the dearth of investible geoscience data.