By Franca Ofili

Minister for Youth and Social Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has urged more young people to apply for the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NYIF is a government initiative created to boost the Nigerian economy through leverage and access to finance for young people.

Dare launched the call in Abuja, Africa/National Youth Day 2022 with the theme “Breaking down barriers to meaningful participation and inclusion in advocacy”.

NAN reports that the celebration also focuses on the sub-theme “Bridging the intergenerational gap to annex the potentials of young people”.

The minister said the theme provided ample opportunity to critically examine and address issues that have continued to hinder young people’s pursuit of a secure role in decision-making.

He said it also has a particular impact on issues that directly concern them and how to benefit from the experiences of older generations.

According to him, the NYIF initiative will allow young people to come up with creative ideas that the government can support with small loans.

“On National Youth Day, if you haven’t heard it before, please listen loud and clear, we still have money to give to our youth for programs.

“When we announce the opening of the portal, you must apply and go through the processes unless you do, you will not benefit.

“We will announce in due course when the portal is open,” Dare said.

He said that no country has been able to solve the problem of youth unemployment without deliberately placing its youth on the side of entrepreneurship.

The minister called on the youth to take advantage of the program to achieve development, entrepreneurship and skills acquisition

He said the government had trained more than 250,000 young people in digital skills over the past few years.

Dare said there are nearly 200 digital skills in the world, but the country is focusing on fifteen different digital skills to empower young people by investing in their ideas.

He said the government has come up with an MTN program called in-company training.

According to him, young people are trained and given money, instrumental tools to start their businesses.

“Government’s unwavering determination to passionately address youth issues with the aim of placing young Nigerians on the path to career development, entrepreneurship, skills acquisition and direct employment.

“The government has concluded to achieve this through such noble programs called the National Youth Investment Fund, an initiative that empowers young people to come up with creative ideas which the government supports with small loans.

“Thanks to this program, many young people have started creating small businesses instead of waiting for white-collar jobs,” he said.

According to him, it is the belief that facilitating the inclusion of young people enables the mobilization of the new generation as an economic and social resource, which can directly contribute to the maintenance of stability and economic growth in Nigeria.

He said the ministry had discovered that more than three hundred and fifty thousand jobs were available for young cybersecurity experts.

Dare said the ministry has partnered with Halogen Group to train young people in cyber security, adding that the group has trained thirty-one thousand young people in cyber security.

Also speaking, Halogen Group COO Mr Wale Adeagbo said the group’s focus was on ensuring safety.

Adeagbo said the country is facing the challenge of cyber insecurity and the group is ready to organize free online cyber security training for young Nigerians.

“We know that currently more than 36% of Nigerians are seen on social media on the internet.

“We also unfortunately know that over 86% of our businesses are prone to cyberattacks, so we need more specialties and skills,” he said.

According to him, more young people need to be equipped to be an integral part of this cybersecurity training as the market expands massively.

“It has been predicted that by the end of 2022 we will have over 3.5 million vacancies worldwide for people with cybersecurity skills,” he said.

NAN reports that the federal government has disbursed N1.62 billion to 5,200 beneficiaries under the NYIF.

NAN reports that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved N75 billion for the establishment of NYIF, an initiative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, with the aim of financially empowering young people between 2020 and 2023.

NAN reports that the federal government has said the microfinance bank is preparing to provide loans to another group of 25,000 young people once their applications have been approved.

NAN reports that the NYIF aims to reach 500,000 young people annually between 2020 and 2023.

Each fund approval ranges from N250,000 to N50,000,000, with a split between group applications, individual applications, working capital loans fixed at one year and term loans fixed at three years with a rate interest at a figure of 5%.

NAN reports that Dare said as many as 6,054 young people have so far benefited from the NYIF, receiving between 250,000 and 3 million naira each. (NOPE)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Maureen Ojinaka/Sadiya Hamza