Exploring NYIF Options To Empower The Youths

Exploring NYIF Options To Empower The Youths
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Joel Ajayi examines the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) as an intervention by the Federal Government to tackle the alarming rate of joblessness.

One of the challenges facing the Nigerian economy is unemployment, which has maintained a rising trend over the years.

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Viewing this from the perspective of the recent events in the country, occasioned by #ENDSARS where looting of both private and public property was the order of the day among other issues that dominated the unrest, one can only conclude that Nigeria’s unemployment poses a threat to development, security, and peaceful co-existence of the nation.

With growing youth unemployment, the widening divide between the haves and the haves not, there is a corollary social tensions which could affect the entire fabric of a community, state, and country.

When unemployment grows in any given economy, disaffection, dissatisfaction and discontent follows among the affected segments of society, leaving gross consequences. This, in turn could lead to frequent crises in society and even crimes which may taint the peaceful atmosphere of such a community.

Young men and women, who have put in a decade or two in schools and colleges, have dreams and aspirations. These are dreams of securing satisfying jobs following their years of struggle, meeting basic necessities   of life, graduating to comfort and dignity, and, eventually, enjoying the luxuries of life. The trauma of seeing their dreams shattered week after week, month after month, can and does lead to deep mental scars that are very difficult to face at a young age.

Opportunities for actualizing the dreams that had led them to seek higher education and further training are few and far between.  And their ranks swell with each passing day.

In a nutshell, we live in a generation where skills acquisition, development and engagement are essential for the youth.

Nigeria, through its youth, needs to create a knowledge-based economy where the combination of relevant skills and technologies will help to create communally inclusion and productivity.

However, a number of intervention programmes did address critical needs, others failed to address the needs of youth as a specific group. Many governments in the past have established intervention that believed will quench the thirst of about 40 million Nigerian youth but to no avail.

Having known the importance of the youth, the present Government, the Buhari-led Federal Government has been actively working seriously to tackle the issue of unemployment, having known the implications of the country’s unemployment and underemployment combined 55.7 percent of the total workforce.

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Among the measures principally put in place targeted at youths, women, and the most vulnerable groups in our society are broad plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10-years.

Other initiatives include Farmermoni, Tradermoni, Marketmoni, the N-Power program including N-Tech and N-Agro as often enunciated by the government.

The establishment of the “Survival Fund,” through which the government is giving a grant of N30,000 to one hundred thousand artisans and guaranteed a market for the products of traders.

With due respect to the previous administration, no Nigerian government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation as it is in this government.

But the recent of them all is the creation of the N75 billion, National Youth Investment Fund NYIF to provide opportunities for the youths to engage in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

This is the new inventiveness put in place by the government to create employment, alleviate poverty and increase the level of economic activities that will translate into economic growth and development in the coming days.

When the Federal Government approved the establishment of the N75 billion, Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), on July 22, 2020, young Nigerians were excited about the innovation and appreciated FG’s planned intervention then.

AljazirahNigeria gathered that NYIF is a youth-focused programme in which each fund approval will range from N250, 000 to N50, 000,000, with a spread across group applications, individual applications, working capital loans set at three years, with a single-digit interest rate of 5%.

A minimum of N25 billion per year in the next 3 years, totalling N75billion will be required to ring-fence the NYIF. For the remaining parts of 2020, N12.5 billion will be needed to kick-start the NYIF. It is expected that successive governments will keep the fund alive.

Already, President Muhamadu Buhari has given directives to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning alongside the Central Bank Governor to disburse the fund. It is therefore believed that successful applicants will soon get the fund before the end of the year.

Without mincing words, given the plan, NYIF would fast track development and quench the thirst of 1.5 million Nigerian youth willing to go into businesses of their choices in the next three years.

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For now, the youth investment fund was meant to support enterprise among the country’s youths between ages 18 and 35.

The application is available online on NISRAL Microfinance Bank’s site, www.nmfb.com.ng. Applicants can also visit the Youth Ministry website, www.youthandsport.gov.ng and www.noya.ng.

However, the news raised hope of much Nigerian youth that NYIF will reduce the surging rate of unemployment in the country, and the general economic breakdown now worsened by the Coronavirus pandemic and recent #ENDSARS protests.

Speaking at the flag off of the application for the  NYIF process recently in Abuja, the Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare revealed that NYIF was initially designed to lift just 500,000 out of unemployment but the government in its effort has increased it to 1.5 million .

The Minister noted that many youths in the country have a major challenge that largely manifested in lack of access to loans, saying that the initiative would help lift many of them out of unemployment.

According to him, the Federal Executive Council on July 22, 2020, thus approved the (NYIF) to the tune of N75 billion spread over three years to cater for the youth-owned businesses and investment need an initiative targeted at lifting 500,000 every year this means in 3 years 1.5 million Nigerian will be lifted.

“With the great work put in place by stakeholders and in line with Mr. President’s desire to increase investment in the youth, the loan provided under NYIF has an interest rate of 5% per annum.

“Youth applying as an individual or non-registered businesses are able to draw up to two hundred and fifty thousand naira (N250,000.00), while youth-owned registered businesses can apply for up to three million naira (N3,000,000.00). Loans are with tenure of five years and a moratorium of up to 12 months.

“Our commitment to seeing the youth succeed is such that the loan is bundled with training that will ensure business sustainability for successful applicants. It is my belief that the Fund will grow to become a permanent feature of our society when beneficiaries run successful businesses and repay their loans.  

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“It is, therefore, my pleasure to officially announce the start of the NYIF application process”.

Also Speaking, the representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN, the Director of Development Finance  Department, Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf commended the creativity of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development.

 According to him, the process is quite democratic; we are encouraging all eligible youth to apply and contribute to national development as N12.5billion is readily available for youth to grab.

AljazirahNigeria  reports that commendations have continued  to trail the recent  approval of the NYIF by  President Buhari, even as the Minister of  Youth and Sports  Development Mr. Sunday Dare’s efforts to fast-track such fund has attracted the support  of the Nigerian youth

While Speaking, the Yiaga Africa Executive Director, Samson Itodo, noted that the establishment of the Youth Investment Fund underscores the commitment of Buhari’s administration to building a new Nigeria.

Also, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) equally  commended President Buhari and the Minister over the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Intervention Fund (NYIF) approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC)

Its President, Mr. Sukubo Sara-Igbe Sukubo, expressed: “President had challenged the youth to prove their capacity.

“President Buhari has rekindled our hope in his administration and Nigeria. We are proud that the President has once again confirmed that is not just the grand patron of NYCN, but also the father of Nigerian youths. It is known to us that most of the policies and programmes of this administration are for the benefits of the youths.

However, we are witnesses to many poverty alleviation and wealth creation programs being cornered by the same politicians who at many occasions have become youths as well as elders to make sure that what was originally meant for the youths will come back to them. We are in this country where leaders corner everything that is good for either self or family members.

However, it’s obvious that, if NYIF is properly handled by the government and judiciously executed, it will no doubt impact on unemployment among the world’s most populous black race.

Aljazirahnews


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