By Merit Ibe
The National Association of Small Scale industralists (NASSI) and the Nigerian Association of Small Medium Enterprises (NASME), have advised the Federal Government to work in partnershipwith organisations and the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) must succeed.
Applauding the initiative, the associations urged government for adequate planning and implementation so that the funds would not end in wrong hands.
commenting, Lagos Chairman of NASSI, Gertrude Akhimien, said if the initiative is adequately planned and executed, the desired goal would be achieved.
Commending the CBN for the N75 billion in an economy in this present situation, which she said was a good start, she however, retorted that it will not solve unemployment issue, but a percentage of unemployed youths will be taken off the streets.
She decried a situation funds of this sort have ended up in the hands of government’s cronies and their families, who get the funds and sit at home, urging the government to engage youth organisations who know those who can benefit.
The NASSI boss said leaving it for politicians and government officials will not help matters.
“Engaging youth organisations both at local and federal levels who can identify those who are already engaged in entrepreneurship and gained some skills and training to benefit from the funds will help the project get to the target audience.
“When you give these funds to those who are not prepared or trained, it will lead to failure, it is important the money is given to the right people.”
For skills required for the sustainability of the development, Akhimien explained that the youths must have entrepreneur spirit, which means they must be ready to run a business without monitoring.
She emphasised the importance of orientation for the youths, who need to tutored on how to do business and be employers of labour.
“They must learn simple accounting skills, book keeping; the money you make, how to spend it and how you turnover to grow a business, is key. If they they don’t know all these basics, any money they make will be spent on frivolities. Marketing skills must be imbibed to sell your products online, physically, or otherwise.”
On the importance of turnover in business, no matter how small the money is, she advised that the youths who would be beneficiaries of the fund should learn to start, no matter how small, this she said will help them manage mistakes easily.
“So no matter the amount of capital for individual start-ups, you continue to turn over and watch the small business grow to a big one.
For his part, Executive Secretary of NASME, Eke Ubiji, who emphasised the need for accurate statistics to determine the number of unemployed youths, opined that if the number is known, it would help in the planning and implementation of the project.
Suggesting involvement of NBS, and other relevant bodies for the success of the programme, Ubiji said: “You cannot work without statistics, I think government and CBN should work with the NBS, which is a competent body and other relevant bodies to get the accurate or near accurate number and statistics of unemployed youths in the country as this knowledge will help them plan and get to the target audience.
He noted that the youths need to be trained on requisite skills needed to run a business before equipping them with funds or else the initiative might flop.
“Before empowering youths with finance, first is to train them on skills. The idea is good to address youth employment.”