The Bank of Industry (BoI) says its N10 billion Youths Entrepreneurship Support Programme (YES-P) is not a grant but a loan towards promoting youth entrepreneurship.
Making this clarification in a statement on Sunday in Lagos, BoI Acting Managing Director, Waheed Olagunju, said “SURE-P was a Federal Government based grant while the BoI YES-P is a lending programme.’’
According to him, many applicants mistook YES-P loan for grant awarded under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
He noted with concern that many youths who made entries under the YES programme were seeking free money rather than making entries to establish sustainable businesses.
“About 70, 000 applications were received, we discovered that because we said N5 million will be the highest, some people made multiple entries.
“By the time the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University, the major development centre driving the process, did their checks, they realised that out of the 70,000 entries, about 40,000 were false entries.
“The applicants thought that the N5 million was per person and they were saying that if this is YES-P, it could be like SURE-P.
“Most grants, particularly in our environment are not viable and sustainable because you are not trained and capacity is not built, so this is why the emphasis is on viability and sustainability,” Olagunju said.
He said that the bank would review the terms and conditions of the two schemes and fine-tune them without violating the prudential guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Our credit policy is predicated on the prudential guidelines and because we are a lending institution, we have to ensure that we
operate within the law and operate within those guidelines.
“We cannot convert YES-P to SURE-P but we will continue to see how we can increase the access of our youths to the range of financial products that we offer at BoI, at much lower costs than commercial banks, because we lend at single digit rate,” Olagunju said.
Recall that the Federal Government on March 17, 2016 launched the YES-P programme, through BoI, to empower youths with loans to start businesses so as to reduce unemployment in the country.