By Dipo Olowookere
As a way of encouraging youth entrepreneurship, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has launched an intrest-free loan scheme for members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) under its Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) programme.
A statement from the bank noted it observed that entrepreneurship remains a critical pathway to resolving the worrisome unemployment problem in the country and decided to revise its interest on the loan scheme from 9 percent to zero.
According to the BoI, over N262.9 million has been released to about 177 corps members across the country under the GEF scheme put together in partnership with the NYSC Directorate.
As at March 31, 2017, the sum of N583.8 million had been approved for disbursements for entrepreneurs under the scheme.
The new interest-free loans to participants, according to the BoI, became effective from May 1, 2017.
However, existing GEF loans and those to be disbursed from that date will require repayment of only the principal amounts, while the 177 candidates that have been financed under the scheme will be required to pay loan interest that accrued up to April 30, 2017, the bank explained in the statement.
Explaining the rationale behind the new development, the BoI said it was “highly delighted in the outcome of its investment in these young Nigerians” and felt there was need to help the small businesses grow to large enterprises.
The bank emphasised that the zero percent interest charge on loans only applies to the GEF programme which is implemented in partnership with NYSC Directorate.
BoI expressed hopes that “this gesture will further attract young Nigerians undergoing their one-year compulsory national youth service to embrace entrepreneurship by participating in the GEF programme.”
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