*…as students, graduates brace up for implementation

Stakeholders appraise CBN’s TIES initiative
Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor.

By Emeka Anaeto, Business Editor

NIGERIAN students, on the platform of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, are now in high spirits, while building hopes of a new dawn of a positive post-schooling experience.

The excitement was over the roll out of the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme, TIES, by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, two months ago.

Speaking to a group of stakeholders and student leaders recently, NANS President, Sunday Asefon, said the era of joblessness as hallmark of university graduates would soon be over as the students embrace the TIES.

He also noted that the school curriculum has been fundamentally challenged by TIES to begin a redirection away from redundant education to a more result-oriented functional system that meets the needs of the graduates.

He lamented, “As Students and stakeholders, the population of our graduates flowing into the market of joblessness is alarming, our training and experience causes our expectations to be heightened at graduation and the hopes get dashed after youth service.

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“Union leaders are under tremendous pressure by graduates on how to access programmes of Government or how to get jobs as none seems coming forth. This has led to the slang, the ‘Pool of Unemployment’.

He said with the TIES coming into full effect these woes would be a thing of the past.

While encouraging students, graduates and employers to imbibe the culture of entrepreneurship, the former Senate President of NANS, who is the CEO of Youths and Jobs Company, Smart Edwards, said that the best days are around adding that the interventions of the Godwin Emefiele led CBN are both strategic and doing the magic.

He said, “With over 200,000 graduates every batch going to serve, it means half a million people will serve every year and in one single democratic 4year tenure the whole country has to deal with 2million Jobseekers in addition to the stranded ones.

‘‘This TIES is not just a scheme, it is an inoculation, its a jab, a wake-up call and a change of culture, in fact, Emefiele has emerged as a Governor of innovations, a pride of the tertiary institution.

“For the first time the CBN is addressing content, not the container.

‘‘Tertiary Institutions should be solution centres. How can you go to school for 4-5years to come out and become a mess in the name of job seeking?

“TIES has given direction and the society can now look up to the ivory towers again.’’

According to him, stakeholders must brace up for the task handed over to the present generation of students and fresh graduates, to become creative from the word go.

‘‘So the vision to lead Nigeria out of its shelf lies on the young men and women within the four walls of the universities and polytechnics, lecturers and students and their stakeholders alike. We can all do it; Let us create more Jobs.

Also students union leaders from Kwara state and Kaduna Polytechnic wondered; “How can tertiary institutions be training us to become unemployed, this is a misnomer and this TIES initiative is bold and deserves commendation.”

The TIES offers

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), last month, launched the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), to provide access to finance for bankable ideas by graduates and undergraduates, in the quest to tackle youth unemployment in the country.

The Scheme, developed in partnership with Nigerian polytechnics and universities, is designed to harness the potentials of graduate entrepreneurs by creating a paradigm shift from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship and job creation for economic development.

Speaking at the launch of the TIES in Abuja, the Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, vowed to tackle youth unemployment and underemployment in the country.

He said, “With about 600,000 students graduating yearly from Nigerian tertiary institutions, and without the commensurate employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, it has become imperative that government, at all levels, puts in place policy measures to support entrepreneurial development among our youth.

“Such measures would create an enabling business ecosystem that supports innovation and enables the youth to unleash their entrepreneurial potential, by redirecting their focus from seeking white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship development.

“The ecosystem should provide support in re-orientating, training, and providing a financing model apt to the peculiarity of the sector within which the businesses operate.”

Emefiele described entrepreneurship as an integral part of any economy, and that “entrepreneurs play a key role in driving growth and innovation, which in turn results in job creation.”

The TIES, he explained, would create an ecosystem that allowed the flow of affordable credit to the real sectors of the economy.

The scheme consisted of three segments: The Term Loan Component;The Equity Investment Component; The Developmental Grant Component.

The loan component provides direct credit opportunities to graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities of not more than seven years post-graduation.

An applicant, if successful, is eligible for a maximum of ₦5 million for an individual, sole-proprietorship or small company; and a maximum of ₦25 million for a partnership or company.

The tenor for the facility is maximum of five (5) years, with a one-year moratorium, and at an interest of 5 per cent per annum, which shall revert to 9 per cent from March 2022.

Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director, Sterling Bank Plc, heads a body of experts which was inaugurated to access the proposals by applicants.

Researchers express confidence

Meanwhile, a professor of animal science at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Moor Plantation, Ibadan, Professor Boye Omole, has lauded the TIE initiative saying: ‘‘It is laudable initiative for CBN to assist Entrepreneurship Development in our tertiary Institution including College of Agriculture and College of education.

“The undergraduates must learn a specific business such farming, barbing, Fashion designing, Automobile engineering, etc.

“In area of Agriculture, there are many business opportunities such as Egg laying Production, Broiler Production, Fish Farming, Vegetable Production and Horticulture etc.

“This initiative will help in boosting Agriculture in term of food Production as reducing unemployment in the Country.

“Also when Youths are really engaged, there will be reduction in crimes such as kidnapping, abduction and Prostitution.

“All final year Students must be trained and empowered in different aspects of Agriculture too and Government must Support them through buy back initiative, this can be possible by placing total ban on all commodities that can be produce locally.’’

While making comments on the scheme, industry stakeholders believed that the scheme is good and capable of creating multiple jobs, boosting food productivity and contributing to economic growth and development in diverse sectors if transparently implemented with adequate resources.

Director, Research Innovation and Training, Kwara State University, Malete, Professor Olawale mashood Aliyu, also commended the move as a right step, and advised the proper monitoring and evaluation process should be incorporated into it.

He said: “This is a very good initiative if well managed and host tertiary institutions have wherewithal to deliver on its effective management.

“A form of partnership with successful private outfits will go a long way to drive the entrepreneurial components of the scheme.

“The scheme should be structured in such a way that it will be insulated from incessant strikes. Strict monitoring and evaluation policies must be put in place for the success of this important initiative.”

Similarly, the Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan, Dr Patrick Adebola, lauded the initiative, and advised graduates of agriculture to take advantage of it to practicalise what they have been trained to do.

He, however, said such a scheme should not be limited to graduates of polytechnics and universities, but should include graduates from agricultural colleges (mono-technics), colleges of forestry and agricultural research institutes.

He added: “The TIES for undergraduates and graduates with good proposal in agriculture, tech businesses and creative industry is a welcome development.

“It will definitely reduce the high rate of unemployment if the funds are disbursed to the right individuals.

“The CBN should also carry along the agricultural research institutes and colleges of agriculture for management of the funds for agriculture.

“They will provide the necessary technical support to ensure the funds are properly utilised.”

SGF applauds TIES

Speaking during the launch of the initiative, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, hailed the efforts of the central bank to ensure that the economy remained afloat despite the disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Represented by the Director, Public Affairs and Bilateral Relations, Office of the SGF, Mr. Olakunle Fashina, Mustapha said, not only would the TIES boost economic growth and reduce graduate unemployment but it would also provide well-grounded incentives for the ever-growing graduate population.

He urged the tertiary institutions to deploy merit in the selection of the proposed beneficiaries of the scheme as well as monitor key performance indicators as applications are submitted.

Speaking at the occasion also, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, described the intervention as a laudable effort by Emefiele to promote entrepreneurial skills in the ivory towers.

He said the CBN was playing a significant role in laying a solid foundation for technological development in the tertiary institutions.

The minister, who was represented by the ministry’s Director, University Education, Mrs. Rakiya Iliyasu, said no country could make appreciable growth in sound technological innovation and sustainable development without focusing on the base.

He said they were the institutions responsible for training the students in the fields of agribusiness, information technology, creative industries among others.

He said it was on record that the scheme was designed to create a paradigm shift among graduates from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to entrepreneurship geared towards job creation and economic growth.

Emefiele on devt finance

Speaking to the need to transform Nigeria’s economic base, Emefile stated: “With an estimated population of 213 million, out of which two-third are youth, aged under 35 years, the nation is faced with a historic opportunity, particularly as the demography continues to create clear evidence of their relevance to economic development, as accentuated by the global recognition of Nigerian tech start-ups and continued growth of businesses in the technology space owned by the youth.

“In realization of this, the CBN has introduced several innovative financing programmes designed to extend low-cost financing to youth entrepreneurs across the country.

“These interventions have continued to receive resounding commendations, as they have proven effective in extending credit to youth entrepreneurs across the country.

“For instance, under its Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), the Bank has disbursed a total of ₦363.49 billion to 766,719 beneficiaries, comprising 638,070 households and 128, 649 small businesses.

“Under its Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), the Bank has released ₦134.63 billion to 37,571 entrepreneurs.

“Disbursements under the NYIF stood at ₦3.00 billion to 7,057 small business beneficiaries.”

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