We will not scrap YouWIN – Nigerian government

The Nigerian government, Wednesday, said it would not scrap the Youth With Innovation Entrepreneurship, YouWIN! Connect, programme.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who stated this in a Facebook LIVE interactive session, noted that the scheme would be reviewed in line with the economic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

There have been reports of fraud in the management of the schemes, with top government functionaries alleged to have facilitated slots to their cronies.

The Federal Government launched an investigation into the allegation, leading to speculations of possible outright scrap of the programme by the government.

But speaking during the Facebook LIVE session on Wednesday, Ms. Adeosun said the scheme was being reviewed, adding that the exercise would enable the government to incorporate the initiative into
university curricula across Nigeria.

“The Buhari administration has no plans to scrap it (YouWIN!Connect),” she said.

“The Federal Government has reviewed the scheme and repositioned it as the YouWiN!Connect, which focuses on continuous enterprise education and skills building.

“As part of the restructuring, the YouWiN!Connect now publishes weekly editorials in four national newspapers. The principles of the YouWiN! Connect will be incorporated into university curricula across Nigeria.”

Commenting further, Ms. Adeosun stated that the finance ministry had been supporting small businesses, creating jobs, improving transparency, cutting the cost of governance, and boosting government revenues.

The minister said the current administration was putting in place measures to ensure that the economy would be diversified in a manner that any fluctuation in oil prices would not have significant impact
on government revenue.

“The good news is that we are working through the issues one by one, and trying to ensure that as we rebuild the economy, we get away from the boom and bust cycle of the past; we want to build an economy where, whether oil price is high or low, there’s sustainable growth for Nigeria and for Nigerians,” she said.


Source: Premium Times

FG halts disbursement of YouWin funds over alleged fraud

The Federal Government has stopped further disbursement of cash to beneficiaries under the YouWin programme following alleged massive fraud uncovered in its management.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said on Friday that the decision to stop further disbursement of funds was to allow government conclude its investigations to unravel alleged massive irregularities in the selection of the winners.

The Punch Newspaper had on Tuesday reported massive fraud uncovered in programme.

Mrs. Adeosun said another petition was received from an anonymous whistle-blower, which provided documentary evidence of irregularities in 10 cases out of the YouWin3 batch of beneficiaries to which about N611.8 million was disbursed.

The YouWin programme initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the minister said, had to be continued in view of some legally binding commitments of grants to 1,500 entrepreneurs selected in the first two batches of the programme designed to help young graduates gain employment.

The minister said it was the determination to honour the subsisting commitments with the beneficiaries that informed the present administration’s decision to organise the YouWin 3 batch of awardees.

However, Mrs. Adeosun said, following an internal investigation into the allegations, government confirmed some startling discoveries, including that one of the awardees was the child of a former director in the ministry. She did not disclose the identity of the former director.

She said the investigation also uncovered a number of cases where married couples each benefitted separately from the cash disbursements, raising concerns about the integrity of the original selection process since 2014 when it began.

“The position of the Ministry is that investigations are ongoing under the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) that will review each suspected case to determine whether any irregularity occurred.  In the interim, disbursements of this batch have been suspended,” the minister said.

Since its inception, the YouWin programme, one of the multiple intervention programmes by the government to create jobs for the teeming population of unemployed youth, has midwifed about 3,900 enterprises within four years.

To ensure its sustainability, the Buhari administration, which acknowledged the success of the original programme, undertook a review.

The exercise found, among other limitations, that awardees were overly focused on the grant aspect of the programme, with a few able to secure other forms of funding to grow their businesses despite each receiving up to N10 million in grants.

Consequently, the ministry redesigned the programme and relaunched it as YouWinConnect to focus more on continuous enterprise education, to help build the capacity of young entrepreneurs across a range of disciplines.

The YouWinConnect was expected to develop entrepreneurs who can attract funding from wide range of sources currently available with the funding taking the form of a Venture Fund which will take equity stakes in new and growing businesses.


Source: Premium Times

FG Pays N1.6bn To YouWin Awardees

The Federal Government has paid N1.6 billion to 638 awardees of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme, a statement from the Ministry of Finance has said.

The statement by Mr Na’inna Dambatta, the Director of Information in the ministry, which was issued on Tuesday in Abuja, said the amount was paid in June.

It recalled that 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).

It said 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, ’’ the statement said.

It also quoted the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun as saying that the present administration was set to restructure the programme in line with its “change” agenda.

Adeosun said that the restructuring would ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries.
She assured that all the commitments made by the Federal Government under the YouWIN programme would be fully met.

She said that every beneficiary would be duly verified, using tools like Bank Verification Number (BVN), before disbursements.
The minister added that the Federal Government would begin consultations with the beneficiaries and other stakeholders of the programme to inject new ideas for its sustainability.

According to the statement, the ministry of finance, which has been running the programme from inception, will hold the consultation on July 22 in Abuja.

“Representatives of the beneficiaries drawn from the six-geo-political zones and other stakeholders will chart a way forward for the programme,’’ she added.

Credit: NAN