Central Bank of Nigeria has given out loans worth N930m to 310 youths, mostly corps members under the Youth Innovative Entrepreneurial Development Programme (YIEDP). This loan is to enable them establish profitable ventures in different sectors of the economy.

The programme is in partnership with Heritage Bank and NYSC. After a rigorous and highly competitive process, each of the winners got N3m. The first set of the loans was disbursed through Heritage Bank.

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CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, said the YEDP was introduced in March 2016 to reduce the rate of unemployment which has increased to 13.3% in the second quarter.

Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, said the programme was to ensure that the creative energies of the over 64 million Nigerian youths were harnessed to stimulate growth, address restiveness and promote economic development.

“To realise this objective, the bank, in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps and Heritage Bank, began the pilot seven months ago. We plan to inspire and harvest the entrepreneurial abilities of Nigerian youths towards creating over one million direct jobs by 2020.”

“The programme is open to youths of between 18 and 35 years who are serving corps members, graduates or artisans. All youths in this category are eligible to apply and will be pre-qualified for training on entrepreneurship before they can access credit lines of up to N3m at a single digit interest rate.”

“The programme is premised on the provision of timely and affordable credit to identified youth entrepreneurs with expected multiplier effects on job creation and economic growth.”

“To overcome the bottleneck of collateral requirements for loans and ease access to finance, their academic and the NYSC certificates, third-party guarantees and movable assets are allowed as acceptable collateral under the programme. The programme is a revolving fund with a target to create more than one million direct jobs. We encourage all Nigerian youths that are interested in being their own bosses to apply online through the participating banks.”

Emefiele said the central bank had commenced the YEDP with other Deposit Money Banks such as Sterling Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc. He added that discussions were ongoing with other banks to have a wider outreach and fund more small businesses.”

YIEDP Partners Lauds Initiative

The Managing Director, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, said the bank had received more than 7,000 applications for the second batch of the programme. She added that it would soon be meeting with the CBN to expand the reach of the programme.

Represented by the Executive Director, Lagos & Southwest, Corporate Banking, Heritage Bank, Mrs. Mary Akpobome, Sekibo gave an assurance that some issues raised by some of the beneficiaries would be addressed.

NYSC DG, Brig.-Gen. Sule Kazaure also encouraged beneficiaries to remain focused and ensure that the loans were repaid to make for the extension of similar facilities to other corps members.