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BOI plans to grant soft loans to young entrepreneurs



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IN a bid to create wealth, reduce number of unemployed Nigerians and fulfill the agenda of the Federal Government towards job creation, the Bank of Industry (BOI) said it is putting everything within its means to reduce the level of unemployment.

The Acting Managing Director Waheed Olagunju, who made this known, last week, said part of the strategies to achieve the goal would be to give grants to viable business ideas that will stimulate growth, noting this was part of the reasons it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 11 training institutes.

Under a new programme, Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES), according to him, youths between the ages of 18 and 35 would be supported with grants from a limitless pool of funds to start their businesses.

He said the need to provide jobs for the youth was the reason for the programme that would be commodity-based industrialisation.

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Areas of comparative advantage, such as agricultural, solid minerals, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and the creative industries, would be focused on.

On why the scheme did not have a financial ceiling, he said: “For every billion naira spent by BoI, 4000 jobs can be created; value addition is the key. We spent N2million for GEF which is the pilot programme, but for this, all funds at our disposal will be made available as we have the backings of our stakeholders to deepen our service delivery.

“We now have an Executive Director for MSME’s which shows government’s renewed efforts to grow the economy through MSME’s as we realised supporting them will provide more jobs to Nigerians unlike the big chain enterprises that employ less”.

He said the YES scheme was a BOI initiative designed to address youth unemployment in Nigeria by building the capacity of youths by equipping them with the requisite entrepreneurial knowledge and skills,as well as funding their business plans, which would enable them to be self-employed and manage their own businesses as “participants must have a minimum educational qualification of an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) or its equivalent.