Na’inna Dambatta, the director of information at the Ministry of Information, has disclosed that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has paid N1.6 billion to 638 awardees of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme, an initiative of the Goodluck Jonathan government.
The spokesman said under the programme which took off in 2011, a total of 18,000 young entrepreneurs were trained in management and business skills for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
He added that 3,900 of the trainees, including 1,200 women, were each given non-repayable take-off grants ranging from N1 million to a maximum of N10 million for businesses of their choice.
“The third edition of the programme, which is still running with 1,500 beneficiaries has received the sum of N11.2 billion in funding. So far, grants totaling N7.4 billion have been disbursed to the awardees,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has said the current administration was set to restructure the programme in line with its “change” agenda, adding that the restructuring would ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries.
The minister disclosed that all the commitments made by the federal government under the YouWIN programme would be fully met, adding that every beneficiary would be duly verified, using tools like bank verification number (BVN), before disbursements.
She said the federal government would begin consultations with the beneficiaries and other stakeholders of the programme to inject new ideas for its sustainability, ading that the ministry of finance, which has been running the programme from inception, will hold the consultation on July 22 in Abuja.
Winners of the third edition of the programme, earlier this month, stormed the headquarters of the ministry to protest the delay in the payment of their grants.