By Ajibola Olarinoye
The Apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is planning on a framework that would enable young graduates access low-cost loans with a view to floating their own businesses.
The intimation was made by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele in his keynote speech at the Convocation Lecture for the 51st Convocation ceremonies of the University of Lagos,
According to him, the framework will be developed by the CBN’s development finance department in collaboration with the Nigerian universities management.
“Our team from the development finance department at the CBN will go right to the universities and draw a framework under which this can be done because this is one aspect where we can begin to stimulate the entrepreneurship in our youths,” Emefiele said.
Congratulating the graduating students, Emefiele asked them to cash in on some of the bank’s intervention programs directly aimed at supporting SMEs like the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS); Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF); Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP); Agri-business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS); Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI); Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) and the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).
Speaking on the topic: “National Development and Knowledge Economy in the Digital Age: Leapfrogging SMEs in the 21st Century,” he said the young graduates can get seed capital from several youth interventions schemes set up by the CBN like the the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund and Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) to kick off their businesses.
“I must confess that given the population growth rate, and the large number of our graduating students, we need to begin to see how Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can be incubated. The SMEs are the ones that develop and grow to large corporates, and become great companies in the future. Going from this lecture today, we would like to see more universities, to begin to conduct sort of entrepreneurship development competition programme,” Emefiele said.
Emefiele told the graduates: “If you truly say you are a graduate of agriculture, are you graduating with a certificate of agriculture to begin to look for a job in a company or you are graduating with a certificate in agriculture to go into some agricultural business that will earn you revenue and profit, with which you can develop your life and country. Those are the kind of things we need today, and we would like to encourage universities to hone the entrepreneurial skills of their students”
He talked about the profitability of agricultural businesses, saying that agriculture is one of the most profitable businesses .
He said: “We loaned as high as N10 billion to people for rice cultivation. The proceeds from the farm was used to repay the loan, and at the end of the day, they made profit of another N10 billion.”
“If you are interested, we will share our number with you. Agriculture is profitable in Nigeria given the need for us to embrace food security. And we must achieve food security. The university community should get the students to embrace not just agriculture but entrepreneurial skill using digital technology for the good of themselves and country,” Emefiele said.
CBN planning to set up framework low cost loans for youths entrepreneurs- Emefiele
By Ajibola Olarinoye