The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Osun said on Monday that corps members interested in entrepreneurship would get between N200,000 and N2 million interest free loans to start businesses after service.Mr Emmanuel Attah, the Coordinator of NYSC in Osun, said this during the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneur Development (SAED) inter-platoon competition/exhibition at the corps’ orientation camp in Ede.
Attah said the SAED programme including the supporting loan, was put in place after the corps observed that youths, after the service year, ended up being unemployed.
He said the skill acqusition programme was designed to make the corps members self-employed and subsequently employers of labour.
He said that the NYSC was collaborating with Bank of Industry (BOI), the Central Bank and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to empower the interested ones.
The state coordinator said that the loans would be made available to the corps members after the SAED programme.
He however said that only the NYSC discharge certificates of the interested corps members would be used as collateral.
The state coordinator said that the certificates would be returned to them after repayment of the loans, which had no time limit for repayment.
Attah said that the amount to be loaned an individual corps member, would depend on the kind of skill acquired and the business proposal submitted.
Explaining the structure of the loan, Mr Emmanuel Ojoowuro, BOI head in Osun, said that they would be in form of business item financing for the applicants.
Ojoowuro explained that the items and materials for the business would be provided to each business setup and that the loan could be up to N2 million or as low as N200,000.
He also said the aim of the NYSC/ BOI partnership was to turn the youths into entrepreneurs.
He said that the loan programme had been running for three years now, with positive feedback and commitment from beneficiaries.
In her remarks, Mrs Olutayo Samuel, the Deputy Director of NYSC in Osun and Head of SAED, said the skill acqusition programme had been running since March 2012.
Samuel said that about 600,000 corps members had participated in it, with 100,000 surviving on the skills acquired from the programme.
She said the skills and the vocations NYSC members could acquire during their service year included food processing, bead making and wire works as well as interior decoration.
Others are makeup and hairdressing, tie and dye, tailoring and baking, among others.
She said that about 2,500 corps members were taking part in the programme which was divided into two categories – in-camp training which lasted for 10 days and post-camp training that lasted as long as desired.
The deputy director noted that the trainers were earlier beneficiaries of the skill acquisition programme.