Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a Nigerian youth investment fund for N75 billion.
It was created to support enterprise among Nigeria’s 68 million youths between ages of 18 and 35.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, disclosed this to State House Correspondents, yesterday.
According to him, youth within the age group with genuine business ideas are to pitch their ideas in any of the 125 micro-credit banks across the country and qualified candidates will have access to the funds.
Dare assured that like the N-power programme, the process is digital and will be fair to all youths aged 18 – 35 regardless of their ethnicity or social status.
“For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Federal Executive Council today (yesterday) 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 youth within the stipulated age band, which is going to be between 18 and 35 years.
“The second approval that secured was for the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to play a lead role in working on necessary steps that need to be taken in terms of legislation, organisation and other aspects of financing.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will take the lead when it comes to the aspect of financing, working with the 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 and this fund will be assessed by our youths, once they are able to present their ideas, they can assess this fund directly.”
Minister of Work and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said council approved a memorandum on the initiative of the president to source bitumen locally for road construction.
“It was a policy memorandum which revealed that a significant amount of bitumen we used in road construction in Nigeria is imported, therefore creating jobs abroad and we recommended to council to approve a directive to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Mines and Steel to develop strategies to enhance, stimulate, and encourage local production of bitumen.
“Essentially, that policy recommendation was approved by the council today to encourage bitumen production locally in Nigeria. This will of course help to further diversify the economy and open another sub-sector of the extractive and hydro-carbon industry for local opportunities.
“We see a demand of 500,000 metric tonnes of bitumen locally per annum. So, we encourage those who can manufacture and produce bitumen locally to tap into this demand. We see the opportunity for thousands of jobs to be created directly if this is done. And government intends to give encouragement and support to all those who take up this opportunity.”
“We expect Kaduna Refinery to also raise its game by participating in this sub-sector of hydro-carbon industry.