The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite has stated that his ministry needs funds to drive exploration activities, even as the government seeks to de-risk the sector.
Besides, Adegbite also called upon youths to take advantage of the N75 billion Youth Investment fund, approved by the Federal Government.
According to him, the Ministry’s focus is to de-risk the sector through the provision of more up-to-date and comprehensive data on mineral occurrences in Nigeria and by enabling a more investor friendly environment through favorable incentives.
“The ongoing National Exploration Project (NIMEP), is government’s rapid response to the dearth of investible geoscience data,’ he said.
Adegbite noted that the Youth fund was set aside by the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari to nurture and develop entrepreneurship spirit amongst the youths.
The minister made this known during a series of town hall meetings held with the youth in the three senatorial district of Ogun State recently.
Adegbite noted that the administration of President Buhari was interested in nurturing entrepreneurship spirit amongst the youth, viewing them as the leaders of tomorrow.
He added that the administration had designed lots of programmes aimed at helping the youths and giving them a good livelihood.
“President Buhari’s administration has set aside 75 billion fund which is meant to assist youths who have good business ideas but no capital to back such ideas up. I want to encourage everyone here who has a good idea to apply for the funds. You can get more details if you go to the website of the Ministry of Youths and Sport Development,” he said. He added that a minimum of N25 billion has been set aside each year for the next 3 years, totalling N75billion.
“Indeed, the president Buhari led federal government considers Nigerian Youth as resource to be harnessed and not a problem which is the reason for the initiation of the fund. This programme joins a slew of other youth-oriented programmes by president Buhari to combat youth unemployment with the objective of driving innovation amongst our youth.”
The loan, aimed at funding about 500, 000 youths from 2020-2023, has an approval range of between N250, 000 to N50m with a spread across group applications, individual applications, working capital loan set as one year and term loan set at three years with a single-digit interest rate of 5%.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (MFBNP) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will provide the financing to kick-start the fund. Disbursement will be through various channels, which will include Micro Credit Organizations across the country under the Central Bank of Nigeria supported by BOI, Fintech Organizations and Venture Capital Organizations, registered with the CBN
Adegbite also called upon the youths to patronize local products instead of foreign ones noting that such would create more employment.
“If you know any young Nigerian who makes clothes we should all patronize him, instead of buying imported designer clothing. We should equally buy shoes made by Nigerians instead of foreign ones. That’s the only way we can grow our economy and create jobs,’ he said.