Hello young people, it is still a great time to be young. President Buhari unveils a N75 billion Youth Bank for Nigerian young people (forget the extra bureaucracy, we must celebrate this call). Mr. President, this is commendable – and we want more. Let’s manage it well and lift our young people to fire on all cylinders.
Yes, I am really happy for this move by President Buhari and his team: “For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the federal executive council today approved the establishment of the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to the tune of N75 billion. This fund is meant to create a special window for accessing credit facilities and financing on the part of our youths that will help to fund their ideas, innovations and also support their enterprise”.
Though I am not a fan of multiple bureaucracies with endless mutating agencies and parastatals, no one should complain when the government does something good. My only desire is that NYIF does not become another YouWin or run as Bank of Industry with its challenging lending requirements.
President has put forward a vision, it is now for the young people to rise. It is the season of banking with the new Infrastructure Development Company just a few days ago; I was not a fan of that one. They have baptized this young fund as a Youth Bank.
“The federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning will take the lead when it comes to the aspect of financing, working with the CBN, the ministry of youth and sports development and other relevant MDAs,” he said.
The Minister explained that the NYIF will serve as a Youth Bank that will fund and support their innovative ideas, skills, talents and enterprises. It will also serve as a loan and credit pathway dedicated to enabling access to credit and soft loans.
He further disclosed that the NYIF N75 billion will last for three years, while he praised President Muhammadu Buhari for using the approval to demonstrate his “unflinching support for the Nigerian youth” and show his “implicit confidence in their innovative talents, potentials and industry.”
Dare said the development has fulfilled Buhari’s assertion that “it is our collective responsibility to ensure that we provide adequate resources to meet the basic needs of our teeming youth.”
How do we Manage this fund?
I will run one simple idea – have a clear requirement that the government will only co-invest/co-support/co-fund ideas which are also receiving private capital with full registration in the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Nigeria. The implication is this: for any youth to receive the Youth Bank funds, his/her ideas must also be attractive to a venture capital (VC) firm or a bank. Doing that will remove corruption in the management of this fund. Yes, briefcase entrepreneurs would be eliminated.
More so, the investors must have assets under management of at least $1 million with a minimum of 5 prior investments in Nigerian companies. The SEC must sign-off with a clear supervision to ensure the private investors are also risking their funds.
Winning as a startup goes beyond money. So, having these private entities would be catalytic. Government needs to strike a VC partnership on this Youth Bank vision, for something huge, which can change Nigeria for good.