Wednesday, February 1, 2017 11:56 am
Alhaji Shettima Yerima, leader of the Arewa Youth Forum has called on women and youths across the Northern region to embrace the various empowerment programmes of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Yerima, who gave the charge at a meeting with groups of Northern Youths in Kaduna, said women and youths as veritable members of the society could not afford to be idle in the face of rising insecurity in Nigeria.
He urged them to take advantage of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-Entrepreneurial Development Centre (EDC) programmes on skills acquisition in areas like agriculture, commerce, environment, information and communication technology.
Yerima said the call has become necessary in recognition of CBN’s commitment to SME and Youth development, by which the Heritage Bank adopted as the sole pilot bank for the Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP).
“The programme is aimed at harnessing the latent entrepreneurial spirit among the teeming youths by providing timely and affordable loans to implement their business ideas and further provides a sustainable mechanism to stimulate employment, contribute to the nation’s non-oil GDP, and address the challenge of youth restiveness,” Yerima explained to the youth groups and urged them to promptly apply to benefit from it.
He explained that according to the CBN, the following categories of youth (aged 18 – 35) are eligible under this scheme: Serving youth corps members and Non-NYSC (not more than 5 years post NYSC).
“The following are some of the qualified business sectors for this laudable scheme: Agro – Allied, Food Processing / Preservation, Arts & Crafts, Manufacturing / Cottage Industry, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Construction Support, Power & Energy, Education & Financial Inclusion, Film & Photography, Automobile,” Yerima further explained.
He also advised people of the region to embrace the CBN’s Anchor Borrower Programme to expand their farming activities and boost food production.
He explained that the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme aims at creating economic linkages between over 600,000 smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and improving capacity utilisation of integrated mills.
“According to the CBN, the programme also aims at closing the gap between the levels of local food production and domestic consumption, as well as complements the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and will graduate farmers from subsistence farming to commercial farming,” Yerima told the youth.
He urged northern youths to invest in genuine farming by forming cooperative groups to cash into the ongoing registration for the scheme and should see the new scheme as real and not be discouraged to key into it in spite of any unfavourable past experiences.
Yerima said they have been assured of quick disbursement of funds to all intending beneficiaries once they were able to fulfil the requirements.
Yerima said that they are convinced that “the current administration is committed to its economic diversification to agriculture and as such determined to assist farmers with funds and other incentives that will make the country to be food sufficient.
“So our northern farmers and unemployed youth should embrace all these agricultural schemes powered by the CBN which are aimed at lifting them out of poverty and also providing employment opportunity for the unemployed,” he said.
Yerima however cautioned the youth who intend to benefit from the programmes not to be tempted to divert the fund to other areas, saying, the present administration has zero tolerance for corruption and other forms of indiscipline.
He warned that whoever is thinking of using the funds for other purposes should not bother to apply.