The federal government has announced plans to restructure one of the flagship entrepreneurship programmes of the last administration led by President Goodluck Jonathan; the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme.
YouWIN was launched by the Jonathan administration as an innovative business plan competition aimed at job creation by encouraging and supporting aspiring entrepreneurial youth in Nigeria to develop and execute business ideas. Its implementation was supervised by Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as finance minister at the time.
A statement signed on Tuesday by director of information at the ministry of finance, Mr Salisu Natinna Dambatta, disclosed that the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari had not jettisoned the policy but is rather looking into restructuring the multi-billion naira programme for increased efficiency.
Dambatta stated that the finance ministry, currently headed by Mrs Kemi Adeosun, will be meeting with stakeholders and beneficiaries of the programme drawn from Nigeria’s six geo-political zones, on July 22, 2016 in Abuja, to chart a way forward for the programme.
A portion of the statement read:
“Under the programme which took off in 2011, a total of 18, 000 young entrepreneurs have been trained in various aspects of Small and Medium Enterprises management and business skills; and 3, 900 of them, including 1, 200 women, were each given non-repayable take-off grants for businesses of their choice ranging from N1 million up to a maximum of N10 million.
“The third edition of the programme, which is still running with 1,500 beneficiaries, has received the sum of N11.2 billion in funding, and so far grants totaling N7.4 billion have been disbursed to the awardees. In June 2016 alone, the sum of N1.687 billion was paid to 638 awardees.”
The minister is quoted to have said that as part of the change agenda of the Buhari administration, the YouWin programme has to be restructured to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries by the federal government.
Adeosun stated that all FG commitments under the YouWIN programme will be fully met, but due diligence would be carried out on every beneficiary, using tools like the Bank Verification Number (BVN), before disbursements.
Initial reactions to the announcement have been mostly positive but also underscore the importance of restructuring the programme to reduce the possibilities of waste:
I am happy YouWin will continue & also Kemi proposed changes around sustainability & proper use of fund. We can do with haste next time.
— Oluseun l #OpenNASS (@seunonigbinde) June 28, 2016