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FG okays N110b for youth empowerment

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The Federal Government has approved N110 billion to revitalise the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) for the empowerment of youths in the country.

Minister of Youth Development, Dr Jamila Bio–Ibrahim, disclosed this during the closing ceremony of the ministry’s two–day management retreat on presidential priorities and deliverables with the theme: ‘Achieving the Eight Presidential Priorities and Deliverables’ in Abuja on Friday.

Bio–Ibrahim stated that the funds, which have been approved under the 2024 fiscal year, would serve as a cornerstone for youth empowerment.

She said the fund is not just a financial reservoir but a catalyst for youth entrepreneurship and innovation aimed at bridging the gap between ambition and opportunity.

In a statement on Saturday in Abuja by the Director of press and Public Relations of the ministry, Omolara Esan, the minister stated that President Bola Tinubu’s administration was committed to empowering every Nigerian youth through actionable policies and innovative programmes which align with the Renewed Hope Agenda.

The minister said: “We celebrate the rejuvenation of the National Youth Investment Fund, approved by the Federal Executive Council to restart with an allocation of N110 billion for the 2024 fiscal year. This fund will serve as a cornerstone for youth empowerment, bridging the gap between ambition and opportunity.

“The fund is not merely a financial reservoir but a catalyst for youth entrepreneurship and innovation. It represents our commitment to transforming the economic landscape by investing directly in the potential of our young people.

“The Federal Executive Council also approved: the integration of Skills and Entrepreneurship Development into the NYIF program; the immediate transition of the NYIF Committee into an interim coordinating unit for project management office, pending the drafting and passing of an executive bill for the Establishment and the Institutionalisation of the National Youth Fund by the National Assembly. Also approved by the FEC is the investment of N5 Billion in the soon to be established Youth Development Bank”.

The minister explained that the Retail Development Financial Institution will be dedicated to providing financial solutions tailored specifically for young entrepreneurs, youth-backed ventures, and youth-sector enterprises.

She added that with an initial capitalisation of N10 billion, the bank was poised to be a pillar of support for youth-led enterprises, offering not just loans and equity but development, guidance, mentorship, and a network of resources.

She said: “National Youth Development Bank (NEXTGEN BANK), a pioneering effort in partnership with the Bank of Industry, and their private sector partners, represents a ground-breaking stride towards economic independence for our youth. With an initial take-off shareholders fund of N10 billion, this institution will be instrumental in nurturing young entrepreneurs and innovators who are the bedrock of our nation’s future. The Retail Development Financial Institution will be dedicated to providing financial solutions tailored specifically for young entrepreneurs, youth-backed ventures and youth sector enterprises. With an initial capitalisation of N10 billion, the bank is poised to be a pillar of support for youth-led enterprises, offering not just loans and equity but development, guidance, mentorship, and a network of resources.

“The Bank of Industry will be investing N2.5 billion and their private sector partners have committed to the balance of N2.5 billion investment and the bank will be private-sector managed”.

The minister said the government would soon commence the rehabilitation and transformation of youth development centres across the country.

“These centres will be transformed into hubs of technical, digital, and creative skills training; bastions of social, political, and cultural engagement, amongst our youths; and sanctuaries for mental health and combating the scourges of substance abuse and social decay. By investing in these centres, we are investing in safe spaces that foster the holistic development of the Nigerian youth”, she added.

She added: “These initiatives are just the beginning. The path we are charting today is comprehensive and designed to tackle the challenges faced by our youth head-on. But these plans cannot reach their full potential without your dedicated cooperation and active participation.

“We must enhance our synergy and focus our efforts on delivering the results every Nigerian youth deserves, which our Leader, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, demands of us”.

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