FEC approves N60 billion for SMEs scheme

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

The Federal Executive Council has granted approval for the disbursement of N60 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria through the Agric Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme.

The scheme is aimed at bolstering the growth of small businesses, particularly among young entrepreneurs nationwide.

This announcement was made in a statement by the Minister of Youth, Jamila Ibrahim, following the conclusion of the fourth FEC meeting in Abuja.

Minister Ibrahim emphasized that the funding from the apex bank would provide crucial support to burgeoning enterprises led by young entrepreneurs, offering significant relief and enabling them to strengthen and expand their businesses.

Additionally, the Council approved the restructuring of the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, with the objective of institutionalizing it through a legal framework, leading to the establishment of the Nigerian Youth Fund.

Initially established in 2020 with a total amount of N75 billion, with annual releases of N25 billion earmarked for youth-led and youth-owned enterprises operating in priority sectors, the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund is set for a revamp.

The FEC endorsed the immediate disbursement of N25 billion from the 2023 Appropriation Act and an additional N25 billion from the 2024 Appropriation Act, allocated under the Youth Development Fund.

Furthermore, Minister Ibrahim highlighted the revamped approach in executing the Youth Investment Fund, emphasizing the formation of clusters.

These clusters are designed to promote mutual assistance among young entrepreneurs, allowing them to provide cross-guarantees for each other. These clusters will focus on commodities of comparative advantage across the six geopolitical zones.

In a significant move towards youth empowerment and inclusion, the FEC approved a 30% youth quota in all government appointments, with a specific provision to ensure fair representation of young women within this quota.

Minister Ibrahim underscored that this measure would help alleviate the marginalization and exclusion of young individuals from decision-making roles, motivating them to actively participate in civic engagement and contribute to the national development agenda.

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