By Franklin Alli
A seven-man panel has started screening business proposals from 40,000 candidates that applied for the Bank of Industry (BoI) N10 billion Youths Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme.
Vanguard learned that the bank has increased the number of people who will benefit from the money to set up their own business from 1,200 to 4,000 per annum and each of them will get a maximum of N5 million . They are also expected to create 36,000 jobs.
The seven –man panel, comprising Peter Bankole, Executive Director Enterprise Development Centre, Pan African University; and the ilk of Dahiru Sanni, Umar Shekaru, Abdul-Gani Mohammed, among others, was inaugurated by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah in Lagos.
The minister commended the bank for the introduction of the N10 billion YES-projects, adding that it was in line with the federal government job and wealth creation agenda aimed at addressing the problem of unemployment among young men and women (18-35) years in the country.
“I have every confidence that the panel will do a great job and the result will show,” he said.
The Acting Managing Director of the Bank, Mr. Waheed Olagunju , said Olagunju explained that the bank was moved to jerk up the number of the beneficiaries because of the alarming unemployment problem among Nigerian youths.
“Having noticed the huge volume of registration on the online portal at 40,000 which outstrips the 10,000 entries we envisaged, we concluded that we should provide more opportunities for the youths by increasing the number of loan beneficiaries from 1,200 to 4,000 per annum” he said.
According to him, analysis of the applications received from the six geopolitical zones showed that the South West led with 29 percent, followed by the North East 23 percent; North Central 16 percent; South -South 13 percent, North West 12 percent and South East seven percent.
Responding on behalf of the panel, Bankole assured the bank, government and the candidates that the screening will be done in a transparent and credible way as personal information has been excluded from the applications because we don’t want to know who you are or who you know. So everybody is on the same page, there is nothing to hid.