…Unveils YES programme
By Adewale Sanyaolu
Worried by the rising number of unemployed youths across the country, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has expressed its desire to reduce the rate to single digit.
Acting Managing Director of BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, stated this in Lagos yesterday at the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony with entrepreneurship capacity building facilitators in Lagos yesterday.
Olagunju said BoI was determined to reduce the 25 per cent unemployment rate to single digit, adding that youths account for more than 60 per cent of the country’s population figure, a development he said remained unacceptable to the bank.
The acting MD said for every N1 billion invested in Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), about 4,500 jobs were being created.
And to achieve the target of massive job creation, he said the Federal Government has expressed its willingness to support every initiative of the bank targeted at reducing the number of unemployed youths in the country.
He explained that the YES-Programme is another initiative of BoI designed to address youth unemployment in Nigeria with the first being the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) programme organised for serving members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) launched in October 2015.
“The YES-Programme entails building the capacity of the youths by equipping them with the requisite entrepreneurial knowledge and skills as well as funding their business plans, which would enable them to be self-employed and manage their businesses,” he said.
According to him, participants would be drawn from young aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years, with innovative ideas who must have a minimum educational qualification of an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) or its equivalent.
He explained that 10,000 online applications would be solicited nationwide, out of which 2,000 would be selected for the online component of the YES-Programme.
“Applicants will register online and will be expected to provide accurate answers to questions. Such answers count towards determining the suitability of the applicants for the training programme. Only the top 1,200 online participants will qualify for the in-class training programme annually.
“The in-class training will be delivered by BoI accredited partner training institutions and shall take place on a bi-annual basis at selected centres across the six geo-political zones of the country, including Lagos and Abuja. Consequently, 600 participants shall be trained at the designated locations twice in a year,” he stated.
On the components of YES, he said the programme involves eight weeks extensive online entrepreneurship and business management training, which has the ability to test participants’ understanding and track their progress.
Others are the Business Idea (value proposition and competition analysis), Business Model (how will the business make money), Sales and Marketing, Running a Successful Business (ethics, compliance, operations), Financial Plan.
The initiative, he said, will also involve technical skill training in partnership with the various technical training and vocational institutions in the country while financing of the businesses will be borne by BoI under its Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) cluster initiative in consonance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Commodity-based Industrialisation Strategy.
NCC says transmission of leased lines pricing discriminatory
From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbata, has said that the pricing of transmission leased lines were discriminatory and arbitrary, as it informed the basis of the commission embarking on a study to determine the pricing in the market.
Danbata who made this known yesterday in Abuja during a stakeholders’ forum on the consultancy study on the determination of cost-based pricing of fixed transmission services in Nigeria telecommunications industry, stated that statistical report by the Internal Telecommunication Union (ITU) in May 20014 indicates that broadband penetration rate in the county was low and stood at 6 per cent and 10 per cent respectively for 2014 and 2015.
According to him, the NCC acknowledged the low penetration rates and put in place the modalities to increase the penetration rate from 6 per cent to 30 per cent by 2018.
“The commission did a study on the assignment of the current level of competition in the telecommunication industry. On conclusion of that study, it was obvious that the pricing of transmission leased lines was discriminatory and arbitrary thus forming the basis of the cost study to determine the pricing in this market,” he said.
Danbata explained that one of the major steps to address the issue of low penetration rates was to encourage massive infrastructure build out that would stimulate seamless broadband penetration to drive technology invocations and over all productivity of the economy.
“The key objectives of this study include to develop a comprehensive cost model using data collated from operators in the transmission cable market and draw inferences on the cost of providing transmission services in Nigeria and the transparency and competitiveness of pricing in the transmission market,” he said.
The EVC stressed that one of the key thrusts of his eight-point agenda, which he recently unveiled is to provide and optimise access to and use of affordable fixed and mobile broadband everywhere in Nigeria.
He emphasised that the consultancy study on the determination of cost-based pricing of fixed transmission services would set the pace for effective competition in the wholesale leased/lines/transmission capacity market in the telecommunications industry.
The NCC chief executive also explained that on the issue of right of way for the telecommunication companies, the commission has been discussing with the federal, state and the local governments and has further taken the issue to the governors’ forum.
“It has been difficult to get everyone to agree but we need to review the issues in charges on right of way. We would ask for a review so that all of us would agree on what to charge,” he stated.
Danbata said the effective date of the take off of the cost-based pricing of fixed transmission services would be April 1, 2016.
An official of KPMG, during a presentation of findings and determination, lamented that from Lagos to London was lower than from Lagos to Port Harcourt.