The Nigerian government is set to begin the restructuring and refocusing of the multi-billion Naira Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme.
Consultations with beneficiaries and other stakeholders on the restructuring has started with the objective of injecting new ideas for its sustainability, a statement by a director with the Ministry of Finance, Salisu Dambatta, said.
The Ministry, which has been running the programme from inception, has scheduled the consultation for July 22 in Abuja, where representatives of the beneficiaries drawn from the six-geo-political zones and other stakeholders would chart a way forward for the programme.
Under the programme, which took off under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, a total of 18, 000 young entrepreneurs have been trained in various aspects of Small and Medium Enterprises management and business skills.
At least 3, 900 of them, including 1, 200 women, were each given non-repayable take-off grants for businesses of their choice ranging from one million Naira up to a maximum of 10 million Naira.
The statement read: “The third edition of the programme, which is still running with 1,500 beneficiaries, has received the sum of 11.2 billion Naira in funding, and so far grants totaling 7.4 billion Naira have been disbursed to the awardees. In June 2016 alone, the sum of 1.687 billion Naira was paid to 638 awardees”.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that as part of the change agenda of the current administration, the YouWin programme had to be restructured to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries by the Federal Government.
Mrs Adeosun confirmed that all government’s commitments under the YouWIN programme would be fully met, but stressed that due diligence would be carried out on every beneficiary, using tools like the Bank Verification Number (BVN), and before disbursements.