The Federal Government has paid the sum of N1.6bn to 638 awardees of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria, YouWin, programme, an initiative of the past government. There have been fears about the government of President Muhammadu Buhari scrapping the programme, with series of protests over the delay in grants.
But Na’inna Dambatta, director of information at the ministry of information, said the money was paid in June. He said under the programme which took off in 2011, a total of 18, 000 young entrepreneurs were trained in management and business skills for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Dambatta said 3, 900 of the trainees, including 1, 200 women, were each given non-repayable take-off grants ranging from N1 million to a maximum of N10 million for businesses of their choice.
“The third edition of the programme, which is still running with 1,500 beneficiaries has received the sum of N11.2 billion in funding,” he said in a statement. “So far, grants totaling N7.4 billion have been disbursed to the awardees.”
Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, said the current administration was set to restructure the programme in line with its “change” agenda. Adeosun said the restructuring would ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries.
She added that all the commitments made by the federal government under the YouWIN programme would be fully met. She said every beneficiary would be duly verified, using tools like bank verification number (BVN), before disbursements.
The minister said the federal government would begin consultations with the beneficiaries and other stakeholders of the programme to inject new ideas for its sustainability.
According to the statement, the ministry of finance, which has been running the programme from inception, will hold the consultation on July 22 in Abuja.