The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has disclosed that the Federal Government has stopped giving grants to youths but rather has now opted for revolving loans to aid their entrepreneurial and creative ventures.
The minister gave this hint at the end of a 2-Day workshop titled ‘Challenges and opportunities for rural youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A mixed-method study to inform policy and development programmes’ held in Awka, Anambra State.
The workshop was jointly organized by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
According to the minister, who was represented by the ministry’s Assistant Director of Vocational Skills, Mallam Adamu Kaina, said the decision by government to suspend further grants to youths was hinged on misappropriation of such funds.
He clarified: “With this we have decided that there would be no more grants to the youths, instead they shall be given loans that they will repay after an agreed period so that others will benefit from the same scheme.”
Dare, who recalled that government had created several funding windows to support the youth in agriculture and other vocations through the establishment of two centres in the North and South, urged individuals and corporate bodies to partner the government in its current drive towards youth empowerment.
The minister further charged Nigerian youth to have a mindset of creating value for themselves, stressing that the “lessons learnt from the nationwide #EndSARS protests showed that every young person believes that those in government are their enemies.
He said about 4600 youths had benefitted N500,000 each from the COVID-19 gesture of the government.
The Gender and Social Scientist, IITA and IFAD-IDS Youth Research Project Lead/Representative (Nigeria), Dr. Bela Teeken, observed that the study carried out in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom, selected four communities for the research survey, namely Ida Amu/Igbokiti and Oba Oke in Osun State, and Umumbo and Igbariam in Anambra State.
He explained that the selected male and female youth were engaged in focus group discussions to understand current rural employment dynamics, adding that
According to the researcher, some of the problems identified as confronting the youths through the survey include lack of access to agricultural loan, poor transportation facilities and multiple taxation.