By Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
As part of the fallout of the #EndSARS protests, the Federal Government has set out N75 billion Youth Investment Fund (YIF) for young people with creative ability.
Announcing this at the end of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (26th NES) in Abuja, Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, said that no country has been able to combat youth unemployment without placing 51, 58 per cent of its youths on a path of entrepreneurship. And it could only do that by providing access to massive funds.
‘And I think that is what led to the N75 billion Youth Investment Fund with the single focus of investing in the ideas of our youth, turning them into world creators, employers of labour,’ he said.
The Minister said that already a portal has been opened for applications and the response has been massive.
‘We started with the focal group. As soon as we got the approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC), we started with the focal group of 27 youths across the country based on the credentials. We studied their resumes and we thought they could bring something together. Then we had the technical group which was more government representatives – the permanent secretaries, top directors from my ministry; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and four other ministries. And then we have the steering committee consisting of ministers and the CBN governor. In less than 90 days we got it from conception, approval to implementation where we opened a portal. As I speak we thought that we would get about 1 million, or 1.5 million applications. We have been over-subscribed as 3.5 million have applied. And I believe from what I have seen, you could just see a business idea. As we set up the programme managing office in January next year we will be able to cascade this, not just for degree holders and diploma holders, the youths on the lower rung of the ladder who are not educated, who are just merely secondary school leavers, we will deal with them offline too. We are creating forms. We can take their forms offline so that they can also be part of this process and that takes us to inclusiveness of government programmes,’ he said.
Recall that Nigerian youths in October 2020, protested against police brutality and misrule of the Muhammadu Buhari-led government, a situation that necessitated some youth-oriented programmes such as YIF.