AS part of the fallout of the #EndSARS protests, federal government is floating a scheme worth N75 billion to be invested in youth development and creativity.
The scheme will be launched under the auspices of Youth Investment Fund (YIF).
Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, gave the hints yesterday in Abuja, while fielding questions from newsmen after the end of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit.
The minister said that a portal had already been opened for applications and the response was massive.
According to Dare, no country has been able to combat youth unemployment without placing 51, 58 per cent of its youths on a path of entrepreneurship.
“And I think that is what led to the N75 billion Youth Investment Fund with the single focus of investing in the ideas of our youth, turning them into world creators, employers of labour. We started with the focal group. As soon as we got the approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC), we started with the focal group of 27 youths across the country based on the credentials. We studied their resumes and we thought they could bring something together. Then we had the technical group which was more government representatives – the permanent secretaries, top directors from my ministry; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and four other ministries. And then we have the steering committee consisting of ministers and the CBN governor. In less than 90 days, we got it from conception, approval to implementation where we opened a portal. As I speak, we thought that we would get about 1 million, or 1.5 million applications. We have been over-subscribed as 3.5 million have applied. And I believe from what I have seen, you could just see a business idea. As we set up the programme managing office in January next year, we will be able to cascade this, not just for degree holders and diploma holders, the youths on the lower rung of the ladder who are not educated, who are just merely secondary school leavers, we will deal with them offline too. We are creating forms. We can take their forms offline so that they can also be part of this process and that takes us to inclusiveness of government programmes,” he said.
It will be recalled that Nigerian youths recently staged nationwide protest against police brutality under the aegis of #EndSARS.