The House of Oduduwa and the Bank of Industry (BoI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which would provide loans to youths in Ile-Ife Concise News gathers.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi signed for the House of Oduduwa while the Acting Managing Director of BoI, Waheed Olagunju, signed for BoI.
Olagunju explained that the initiative was aimed at reducing youth unemployment in Ile-Ife communities.
Among the features of the MoU is the provision of N1 billion loans at an interest rate of 7.5 per cent to the youths.
According to him, a substantial part of the loan will go to women, youth and businesses that show high sustainability.
“We have been partnering with multinational and corporate companies, but today we are collaborating with traditional rulers.
“These are people who have access to the grass root. Partnering with them is a way of democratizing entrepreneurship.
“We identify areas in which communities have comparative advantages and invest in them.
“The beneficiaries will be selected using the world best practices. For this edition, about 15 to 20 percent of them will be those who deal in local products.
“We are working with the entrepreneurship centre of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
“Applications are expected to be submitted and a joint committee of BoI team, the Oduduwa House and also the OAU team would access it.
“They are to be monitored by members of the committee and elders, especially the traditional rulers. We estimate that about 5,000 youths will benefit from this,” he said.
Ooni emphasised youth’s empowerment
On his part, Ooni emphasized the need to empower youths, saying that was necessary for the nation’s continuous growth.
He subsequently challenged monarchs across the country to be dedicated to developing youths in their communities.
He said: “I would not mind going hungry to empower the youths. If we empower the youths of today, many generations will benefit from them and also eradicate poverty.
“Today’s event is another giant step in the history of Ile-Ife. We are molding future of our youths in the areas of agriculture and agro-allied industry.
“I put a challenge to other monarch’s to engage in community partnership.
“We should stop relying on government. This is because there are so many initiatives that community leaders can tap into.
“Community leaders should go into partnership with multinational companies and financial institutions to benefit there people,’’ he said.
The monarch also said the N1 billion funding would help the youth of the entire House of Oduduwa and beyond.
He said monarchs should think of what they could do for their people and support government in its empowerment moves.
The royal father noted that government at all levels should set up a body that will particularly focus on local contents initiative.
He said the body should also be responsible for quality assurance as well as control, adding that with this, over 60 per cent contracts will have local input.” Ogunwusi resorted.