The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has shown its readiness to support the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme, an initiative of the past government, as it has paid the sum of N1.6bn to 638 awardees.
The programme, initiated by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 as part of the government’s job creation initiatives, provides grants to about 1200 people to start small businesses each year.
It also made provisions for the training of entrepreneurs.
There were clear indications that the federal government may scrap the programme, with series of protests over the delay in grants.
However, Na’inna Dambatta, director of information at the ministry of information, said the money was paid in June, 2016.
A statement signed by him read below:
The Federal Government is set to start consultations with beneficiaries and other stakeholders on the restructuring and refocusing of the multi-billion Naira Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme with the objective of injecting new ideas for its sustainability.
The Federal Ministry of Finance, which has been running the programme from inception, has scheduled the consultation for July 22, 2016 in Abuja, where representatives of the beneficiaries drawn from the six-geo-political zones and other stakeholders would chart a way forward for the programme.
Under the programme which took off in 2011, a total of 18, 000 young entrepreneurs have been trained in various aspects of Small and Medium Enterprises management and business skills; and 3, 900 of them, including 1, 200 women, were each given non-repayable take-off grants for businesses of their choice ranging from N1 million up to a maximum of N10 million.
The third edition of the programme, which is still running with 1,500 beneficiaries, has received the sum of N11.2 billion in funding, and so far grants totaling N7.4 billion have been disbursed to the awardees. In June 2016 alone, the sum of N1.687 billion was paid to 638 awardees.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said that as part of the change agenda of the current administration, the YouWin programme has to be restructured to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries by the Federal Government.
Mrs Adeosun confirmed that all FG commitments under the YouWIN programme will be fully met, but due diligence would be carried out on every beneficiary, using tools like the Bank Verification Number (BVN), and before disbursements.
SALISU NA’INNA DAMBATTA
June 28, 2016