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Nigeria – Combat Against Unemployment: Youth Body Applauds FG On N-Power Batch-C Enrollment, Agricultural Soft Loans, And All COVID-19 Support Palliatives; Urge Youths To Take Advantage Of The Opportunities

The President of the Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC), Blessing Akinlosotu, has applauded the federal government for its resilient efforts in combating unemployment amidst youths in the country.

Akinlosotu made the commendation today, Monday 29 June, 2020 in Abuja in a Press Release he made available to the journalists.

Speaking further, he admonished youths in the country to take advantage of the schemes, and programs made available by the government aimed at boosting entrepreneurship amongst youths and drastically inhibit unemployment.

The prototype N-Power Programme was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) with the mandate of lifting citizens out of poverty through capacity building, investment, and direct support. The programme which has enrolled 500,000 youth beneficiaries thus far – 200,000 from Batch A which started in September 2016 and 300,000 from Batch B which kicked off in August 2018, is worth commending.

Following the announcement by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on the commencement of enrolment for a new batch of N-Power beneficiaries which was effective from July 26, 2020, Batch C is also bybeing enrolled to provide opportunities for more Nigerian youths to access the programme, in furtherance of the President’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by creating opportunities that will enhance the productivity of the Nigerian youths for entrepreneurship.

Thus, the Youth body wishes to urge all youths in the country to seize the opportunity made available by the federal government by enrolling in the program.

“The following are the criteria for enrollment: Youths with Ordinary National Diploma (OND), National Certificate of Examination (NCE), Higher National Diploma (HND), Bachelor degree (BSc.), between the ages of 18 – 35. The following should be made readily available when enrolling using the site; : Name (Surname first), E-mail, Password, Educational Background, National Youth Service Certificate, Birth Certificate, Local Government Identification letter, Bank Verification Number, Phone Number, Bank Account Number, Bank name, State origin, LGA, Community, Residential Address, State of Resident, Local government of resident, the program you prefer,” he said.

Speaking on the Agro-Soft loans, the President of the body (NYC), Blessing Akinlosotu said, according to President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech on 12th June, 2020, (Nigerian Democracy Day), “Agriculture remains the key to our economic diversification strategy”.

He also mentioned the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme which has continued to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to youths who are head-bent on farming, reviving 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and provided indirect jobs across the value chain amongst youths.

The Government is also worthy of commendation as it is revamping the cotton, textile and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that had considerably reduced foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports which has created a resultant effect on employment generation amidst the youths.

Also, the food security initiative, known as “Grow What We Eat and Eat What We Grow”, CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes aimed at protecting farming investments, as the federal government deploys 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289, with 70% youths employed in the para-military agencies.

As part of the measure to reduce the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on businesses in Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have introduced COVID-19 support loans for households, SMEs and MSMEs.

The COVID-19 Support fund, according to the government, is to be distributed by NIRSAL Microfinance Bank with an interest rate of 5% P.A. (all-inclusive) up to 28th February 2021 and thereafter, the interest will revert to 9% P.A. (all-inclusive) as from 1st March 2021.

Mr. Akinlosotu who took out time to outline the categories of loans and the requirements was fascinated as he passionately stated all with the mindset of youths to take advantage of the opportunities.

“Eligibility for the Households category: For a household to benefit, they must provide verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19 and agreed to allow NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) to assess their financial records. Households can access a maximum of N3 million. Requirements include: Loan application letter, duly completed application form, duly executed guarantor’s form, valid means of ID (national ID, driver’s license, voter’s card or international passport), current utility bill, 2 recent passport-size photographs, and BVN.”

“MSMEs/Corporate Enterprises category: Mini SME (funding between N3m – N10m), SME Plus (funding between N10.1m and N25m), existing enterprises must provide verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and also agreed to allow NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) to assess their financial records.”

“The bank will assess the capacity of the customer through the customer’s business history; via total account statement turnover (with NMFB and other banks), however, this would not be the only tool used to determine customer’s eligibility. (Note: Where a review of the customer’s account statement raises fundamental issues, the bank reserves the right to make decisions as considered appropriate). Requirement include: Loan application letter, duly completed application form, duly executed guarantor’s form, valid means of ID (National ID, Driver’s License, Voter’s Card or International passport), current utility bill, 2 recent passport-size photographs, and BVN.”

He further urged youths to visit the official website of the Nigerian apex bank (Central Bank of Nigeria) to start application.