The Nigerian Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite has called on the youths in the country to patronize local products instead of foreign ones.
Speaking during series of town hall meetings held with the youth in the three senatorial districts of Ogun State at the weekend, the minister said the patronage of locally produced products would create more employment in the country.
“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.
He also urged the youth to take advantage of the Youth Investment Fund (N-YIF), recently approved by the Federal Government, adding that the fund was set aside by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to nurture and develop entrepreneurship spirit amongst the youths.
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 N75 billion fund which is meant to assist youth 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.
Adegbite further explained that a minimum of N25 billion has been set aside each year for the next 3 years, totaling N75 billion, adding that the Federal Government considers Nigerian youth as resource to be harnessed and not a problem which, according to him, is the reason for the initiation of the fund.
The minister added that the programme joins a slew of other youth-oriented programmes initiated by President Buhari to combat youth unemployment with the objective of driving innovation amongst young Nigerians.
The loan, according to him, is aimed at funding about 500,000 youths from 2020-2023, has an approval range of between N250,000 to N50 million 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 percent.
“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 and Venture Capital Organizations, registered with the CBN”, he further disclosed.
Speaking on the emerging issues in the mining sector, the minister noted that the sector needed huge funds for its exploration project.
“Our focus is now on de-risking the sector, by the provision of more up-to-date and comprehensive data on mineral occurrences in Nigeria and 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 stressed.