After undergoing intensive capacity development programme and upon submission of bankable projects, successful applicants would have the opportunity to get a maximum of N2million at 9 per cent interest rate, payable over three to four years period. The development finance institution in collaboration with the directorate of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), came up with the initiative in order to encourage graduates of tertiary institutions in the country to become employers of labour rather than job seekers. At the opening ceremony of a 4-day in-class capacity building programme for the second phase in Katsina, the acting managing director of BoI, Mr Waheed Olagunju, said the initiative was designed to empower the Nigerian youths, especially considering that government alone could not sufficiently address the unemployment situation in the country. Olagunju, who was represented by the divisional head, SME North, Mr Omar Shekarau, explained that the second edition of the scheme was embarked upon based on the success of the first edition which saw 140 projects fully implemented with a total sum of N194.4 million disbursed. Olagunju added that the programme ensured the creation of 560 direct and over 2,000 indirect jobs. “The first phase of the scheme recorded a total of 896 participants at the 3-day capacity building programme which was held from 18th to 21st November 2015 at seven designated training centres across the country. “At the end of the training and by the deadline of February 15, 2016, for the submission of loan applications, a total of 361 candidates had submitted requests for an aggregate sum of N695.16 million spanning across 27 out of the 40 micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) product clusters identified by BoI. “Subsequently, a total loan of N439.8 million was approved for 260 candidates and 140 projects have so far been fully implemented with a total sum of N194.4 million disbursed. “These young Nigerians have not only taken themselves out of the job markets, but have become employers of labour such that their businesses have created 560 direct jobs and over 2,000 indirect jobs,” Olagunju said while commenting on the impact of the first phase of the scheme. Also speaking at the event, the special assistant to the governor on youth development and chairman of the state’s NYSC board, Alhaji Ibrahim Aminu, praised the bank for the initiative aimed at encouraging youth entrepreneurship. Aminu, however, admonished the benefitting corps members to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the development finance institution and the NYSC through the GEF to become better versions of themselves and improve their society by floating viable businesses which would help create jobs.]]>