CBN Advocates Adoption Of Entrepreneurship Courses By Universities 

Yemisi Izuora

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has called for review of Universities curriculum to adopt more entrepreneurial vocations that will prepare graduates for entrepreneurship positions.

Governor of the Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele on Thursday said that refocusing the orientation of graduates from seeking white collar jobs to that of entrepreneurship will help reduce rising unemployment rate in the country.

Emefiele, gave the advise at the official launching of the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme, an intervention of the CBN aimed at addressing the dual challenge of youth unemployment and underemployment in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s unemployment rate since President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has risen to 33.3 per cent which implies that over 23 million Nigerians are unemployed according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

But Emefiele said the scheme, developed in partnership with Nigerian polytechnics and universities, is designed to harness the potentials of graduate entrepreneurs by creating a paradigm shift from the pursuit of white-collar jobs to a culture of entrepreneurship and would ensure economic development and create the much needed jobs for the country.

With about 600,000 students graduating yearly from Nigerian tertiary institutions, and without the commensurate employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, Emefiele said it has become imperative that government, at all levels come up with policy measures to support entrepreneurial development among the youth.

According to him, such measures would create an enabling business climate that supports innovation and enables the youth to unleash their entrepreneurial potential.

He called on stakeholders to provide the needed support in re-orientating, training, and providing a financing model that is peculiar for entrepreneurship development.

This, he said, would help to reduce the level of unemployment in the country, create wealth for the people and boost economic growth.

He said, “Entrepreneurship is an integral part of any economy, and entrepreneurs play a key role in driving growth and innovation, which in turn results in job creation.

“In line with its mandate of ensuring monetary and price stability, and its developmental mandate of ensuring inclusive growth in the economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria has introduced several programmes that create an ecosystem that allows the flow of affordable credit to the real sector.

“These interventions are industry-led and designed to support the resilience of targeted priority sectors and segments for growth and jobs creation.

“With an estimated population of 213 million, out of which two-third are youth, aged under 35 years, the nation is faced with a historic opportunity, particularly as the demography continues to create clear evidence of their relevance to economic development.”

On the importance of the scheme, Emefiele said it would be implemented under three major components.

He said the first component is the Term Loan Component which provides direct credit opportunities to graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities of not more than seven years post-graduation.

He said an applicant, if successful, would be eligible for a maximum of N5m for an individual, sole-proprietorship or small company; and a maximum of N25m for a partnership or company.

He said the tenor for the facility is maximum of five years, with a one-year moratorium, and at an interest of five per cent per annum, which shall revert to nine per cent from March 2022.

The CBN Governor gave the second component as the Equity Investment Component which is designed to support start-ups, existing businesses requiring expansion, and ailing businesses seeking resuscitation.

“The Component shall be implemented under the Bank’s AgSMEIS Equity Window. Thus, the investment limit shall be subject to the limit prescribed by the AGSMEIS Guidelines and the investment period not more than ten years,” he added.

For the third component which is the the Developmental Grant segment, he said this is aimed at raising awareness and visibility of entrepreneurship among undergraduates of Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Under this component, he said polytechnics and universities in Nigeria will compete in a national biennial entrepreneurship competition where undergraduates are presented by the tertiary institutions to pitch innovative entrepreneurial or technological ideas with transformational potential.

He said three top institutions at the regional levels will proceed to the national level, where the top five will be awarded grants ranging between N120m and N250m.

He noted that grant awards will be used by the tertiary institutions solely for the development of the award-winning ideas.

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