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BoI Earmarks N30bn For GEF Scheme

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has restated plans to disburse N30 billion for its Graduate Empowerment Fund (GEF) scheme this year to boost job opportunities for graduates.
The move is part of the quest to stimulate entrepreneurship in order to address the high level of unemployment in the country. The Acting Managing Director of BoI, Waheed Olagunju, in a statement, said that the bank planned to roll out the funds as part of efforts to strengthen the country’s small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) sector.
He said the availability of adequate funds for SMEs operators and entrepreneurs would go a long way in reducing the menace of unemployment in Nigeria.
Olagunju added that relevant government institutions should also develop policies that will address the country’s unemployment at this period so as to drastically reduce the menace.
He stressed that it was the bank’s priority to add value to the country’s economy, adding that BoI would not leave any stone unturned to realise its objective to raise one million new entrepreneurs in the country through its funds set aside for the scheme.
His words: “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 3,000 applications where we invited 1,000 for the capacity building where only 800 showed up and out of 800 only 350 applied.
“Last year, we had planned to disburse N15 billion, but only disbursed N5.6 billion to those who qualified. This year, we are targeting N30 billion.”
Olagunju explained the urgent need to bring down the level of unemployment in the country to single digit, adding that the nation would be sitting on a time bomb of youth restiveness if nothing is done in the next two to three years to address the scourge.
He said: “We at BoI also know that we need to create a high level of entrepreneurs. We need to have high number of entrepreneurs because we cannot solve the high level of unemployment in this country except we increase the number of entrepreneurs.”
Speaking on other intervention schemes, the acting managing director added that Development Finance Institution (DFI) had just launched its youth empowerment programme and is expected to turn out about 1200 entrepreneurs.
He stressed that Nigeria needed more than that number to create the proportionate employment opportunities for its teeming unemployed youths.
He said “Under our Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) programme, we are expecting that there will be 10,000 applicants and also looking at turning out about 1200 applicants yearly.”

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