By Moses Uwagbale
Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the establishment of a N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to support enterprise for 68 million youth between 18 and 35.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Dare, the fund is meant to assist qualified candidates with genuine business ideas, and can approach any of the 125 micro credit banks across the country to access it.
He said: “For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Federal Executive Council today approved the establishment of the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to the tune of N75 billion.
“This fund is meant to create a special window for accessing credit facilities and financing on the part of our youths that will help to fund their ideas, innovations and also support their enterprise.
“The best way to call it is that for the first time the country will have a youth bank.
“A fund that will cater specifically for our youths within the stipulated age bracket which is going to be between 18 and 35 years.’’
Dare assured that the scheme would not be hijacked by politicians as only genuine candidates would benefit from the funds.
He stated that his ministry would play a lead role in working on necessary steps needed to be taken in terms of legislation, organisation and other aspects of financing of the scheme.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will take the lead when it comes to the aspect of financing, working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and other relevant MDAs.
“A couple of other details will be released later, but I think the most important thing is that the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund, to cater specifically for this target group, a population of over 68 million, got the attention and support of the Federal Executive Council today.
“This fund will be assessed by our youths, once they are able to present their ideas, they can assess this fund directly,’’ he further explained.