…Pegs interest rate at 9%
By Adewale Sanyolu
To address the challenge of the over 50 per cent youth unemployment in the country, the Bank of Industry (Bol) yesterday said it has floated a N2 billion Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF).
Addressing the media in Lagos, Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, explained that GEF was being implemented in conjunction with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Olaoluwa said it remained worrisome that of the over 250,000 graduates of Nigerian tertiary educational institutions that enrol in the NYSC scheme each year, more than 42 per cent of them end up without employment after the mandatory NYSC programme.
To address the anomaly, he said an innovative approach was required to tackle graduate unemployment that has engulfed the country.
According to him, GEF is to identify the innate talents of young graduates as soon as they leave school, build their capacities for self-reliance and also empower them to establish their own businesses, thereby creating jobs, not just for themselves, but also for other youths they may employ.
On the features of GEF, the Bol boss said the total amount available for lending under GEF was N2 billion while each beneficiary can access a minimum loan of N500,000 and a maximum of N2 million for the procurement of machinery and equipment as well as for working capital.
On repayment mode, he said the loan has a tenor of three to five years inclusive of six months moratorium, adding that one unique feature of GET is that it does not require the conventional collateral usually demanded by banks.
He disclosed that 1,000 NYSC members will participate in the capacity building process through an online business idea competition for those with successful bankable business plans.
Olaoluwa stated that the 1,000 successful applicants will subsequently be invited to a three-day GEF capacity building programme at the designated centres, at the end of which they will qualify to apply for loan in respect of their various business ideas.
“An example of this strategy in the entertainment industry where musical talent hunt shows like Project Fame, Nigerian Idol and X-Factor are organised from time to time to identify the next generation of musical talents locally and internationally.
Source : SunOnline