The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed main business activities and sectors in the Nigerian economy that are eligible to access its N75 billion Youth Investment Fund.
They include technology/innovation; agriculture and related value chain; green economy and renewable energy sector; manufacturing, hospitality/tourism; construction and logistics and supply chain. Others are healthcare value chain, creative sector and trading and services while the rest shall be determined by NYIF/CBN from time to time.
In a framework it released last week for the operation of the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (MfB) window of the Fund released, the CBN said:
However, preference shall be given to enterprises that will support the growth of priority sectors, specifically those identified by the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan.
The framework read in part:
Cooperative societies duly registered with the relevant government authorities and members of Commodity Associations that fall within the eligible age bracket are also eligible to participate.
Individual (unregistered business) shall be determined based on activity/nature of project subject to the maximum of N250,000.
Registered businesses (business name, limited liability, cooperative, commodity association shall be determined by activity/nature of project subject to the maximum of N3.0 million (including working capital).
Applicants currently enjoying NMFB loans, including the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) and Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS) loans that remain unpaid are not eligible to apply. Beneficiaries of other government loan schemes that remain unpaid are also not eligible to participate.
It further stated that applicants shall undergo a compulsory entrepreneurship training arranged or approved by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
To this effect, the Federal Government of Nigeria has set a target of generating at least 500,000 jobs between 2020 and 2023 through financial empowerment of Nigerian youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
According to the banker to the government, major objectives of the scheme are to:
Improve access to finance for youth and youth-owned enterprises for national development; generate much-needed employment opportunities to curb youth restiveness and boost the managerial capacity of the youth and develop their potentials to become the future large corporate organizations.
The Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan was developed by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD) as a built-in strategy to respond effectively to the youth employment challenge in Nigeria. The major objectives of the plan are to address fragmentation of youth initiatives that prevent assessment of impact, and to provide Nigeria youth with investment inputs required to build successful businesses that can become sustainable employers of labor and contributors to Nigeria’s development.
The plan details the needed actions required to support business establishment, expansion and consequent employment creation for youth in critical economic and social sectors.
The Federal Executive Council on July 22, 2020, approved the sum of N75, 000,000,000.00 (seventy five billion naira) for the establishment of the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund for the period of 2020 – 2023 dedicated to investing in the innovative ideas, skills and talents of Nigerian youth, and to institutionally provide the youth with a special window for accessing much needed funds, finances, business management skills and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise development.
The framework released by the CBN stipulates that the NYIF will facilitate the transition of informal enterprises owned by youth into the formal mainstream economy where they can be supported comprehensively, build a bankable track record; and be accurately captured as active participants in economic development.
Also, for Formal Business Enterprises (Youth Owned Enterprises) or enterprises that are legal entities duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), documents required are: evidence of registration with Corporate Affairs Commission (Certificate of Incorporation and Form CAC 2A); business questionnaire; list of directors with BVN number; evidence of regulatory approvals (where applicable); Tax Identification Number (TIN).