Acknowledging the fact that entrepreneurship development will aid the creation of job opportunities to address the high level of unemployment in Nigeria, the Bank of Industry (BoI), First Bank of Nigeria Limited and the Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC) have announced plans to raise one million new entrepreneurs in the country. The Acting Managing Director, Waheed Olagunju, explained the urgent need to bring down the level of unemployment in the nation to single digit, maintaining that the nation will be sitting on a time bomb of youth restiveness if nothing is done in the next two to three years to address the scourge.
Olagunju during a courtesy visit of the Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, said: “We at BoI also know that we need to create a high level of entrepreneurs. We need to have high numbers of entrepreneurs because we cannot solve the high level of unemployment in this country except we increase the number of entrepreneurs.”
The acting Managing Director however stated that the Development Finance Institution (DFI) had just launched its youth empowerment programme and is expected to turn out about 1200 entrepreneurs, but stressed that Nigeria needs more than that number to create the proportionate employment opportunities for its teeming unemployed youths.
As stated by him, under our Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) programme, we are expecting that there will be 10,000 applicants and also looking at about turning out about 1200 applicants yearly.
He said: “We know this cannot go a long way in the country considering the size of the country and this is why we are looking forward to collaborating with development partners in this country to get a high number of entrepreneurs. To tackle the unemployment situation in this country, we need to bring the unemployment rate to single digit which means we ought to have created about 15 million new jobs in the country. If we do not act fast in the next two to three years, we will have boys on the street coming to attack us.
“At BoI, we believe that there can be no development without communication. We need to change the mindset of our people. Under our Graduate Empowerment Fund (GEF), we have received over 3000 applications where we invited 1000 for the capacity building where only 800 showed up and out of the 800, only 350 applied. Last year, we had plans to disburse 15 billion but only disbursed N5.6 to those who qualified. This year, we are targeting N30 billion.”