Nigeria’s population is estimated at 200 million with more than half its people under the age of 30. Such youthful population has continuously put a severe strain on its economy and rapidly dwindling revenues. With a median age of 17.9, the youths form a huge reservoir of unutilized economic, social and technological energy. Empowering the youths and indeed the generally huge population is key to unlocking the nation’s hidden capacity.
Governments and individuals have over the years devised several empowerment schemes for the country’s citizens. Hop on as we discuss some enterprising and active empowerment programmes available to Nigerians in the country.
Trader Moni is a federal government social intervention programme aimed at providing collateral-free loans to Nigeria’s small business owners. It is arguably the most recent government sponsored empowerment programme in the country. Since its inception in the second quarter of 2018, the scheme has rapidly garnered a huge following, providing loans to hundreds of thousands of small business owners across the country. The programme is executed by Bank of Industry (BOI), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. It is specially targeted at traders, artisans, market women and farmers in the services and manufacturing sector.
With TraderMoni, petty traders can access interest-free loan of between ₦10,000 to ₦100,000 naira. Loaned amount increases gradually as the loanee gains trust by timely repayment of loans. There is currently no age restriction for this program so all Nigerians are eligible.
To apply for participation in the scheme all you need do is locate a TraderMoni agent in your community, provide all the required details and proceed to verification and loan collection. Applicants can also apply through their registered Market Associations or Cooperatives and will need to have a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and a mobile phone.
Presidential Youth Entrepreneurship Support (P – YES) Programme
The P-YES Programme is a social intervention scheme organised by the federal government to address unemployment through entrepreneurship and business training. The programme is also executed by the Bank of Industry (BOI) in collaboration with the presidency through the ministry of youth and student affairs.
Under the programme, thousands of participants are trained and awarded loans to start up small and medium scale businesses.
Usually, over 10,000 online applications are collected out of which 2,000 are selected for an online training component of the YES programme. The participants are then required to take an online test from which only 1,200 are selected for the final in-class training program. Loans of up to 5 million Naira are then made available to successful participants on completing the final training program. The programme limits the age of participants to between 18 and 35 years.
N-power is a multifaceted government backed empowerment programme. The main aim of the programme is to stimulate employment and productivity through large government sponsored skill development schemes. The n-power scheme is divided into eight modules; n-power Agro, n-power tax, n-power build, n-power creative, n-power health, n-power teach, n-power software and n-power hardware.
N-power Agro members are utilized to provide Agro advisory services to local farmers and maybe subsequently retained in a permanent role as extension consultants.
N-power teach volunteers are deployed as teaching assistants and educational administrators in primary school around Nigeria and may be retained in an educational related field.
N-power tax is also a volunteer based unit composed mostly of graduate from finance related fields. The work as community liaisons to encourage non-compliant as well as partially compliant taxpayers to pay taxes. The maybe subsequently retained in a permanent role to work as tax officers for the government.
N-power tech software and n-power tech hardware are both designed to train technician in the ICT field and provide them with support to start-up and contribute positively to the economy.
Others include n-power build, n-power creative and n-power health. Each modular unit is tasked with curating participants into innovators and industry movers in their respective fields. The scheme employs a network of over 500,000 trained graduates to achieve its goals. All eligible candidates must be Nigerian and between the age of 18 to 35.
Information on current requirements to participate in each scheme is always published on the N-POWER website.
TEF Entrepreneurship Programme
Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme is a privately funded empowerment scheme for start-ups across Nigeria and Africa. The multi-cycle empowerment scheme is the brainchild of – $700 million worth – Nigerian Millionaire, Tony Elumelu.
The programme is open to all African entrepreneurs who possess enticing business ideas with the potential to transform Africa. It’s also open to already established businesses that are less than 3 years old. Selected participants will each receive a seed fund of about $5000 (1.8 million Naira), detailed business training and mentorship. The scheme promises to give out a total of $100 million to African businesses within 10 years.
So far around 4,470 vetted African entrepreneurs have received a seed fund of $5,000 each. Interested applicants can apply for the fund through the foundation’s website.
Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture ( YISA )
YISA is an Agro focused empowerment programme for graduates of agriculture related fields and individuals with genuine interest in agro-allied businesses. The programme is open to individuals between the ages of 15 to 40 who have a strong zeal to key into Nigeria’s agricultural revolution. YISA is currently being supported by the Federal ministry of agriculture and Rural development but it’s not a programme of the ministry.
The major goal of the programme is to shift the age demographics in farming from the aged and aging to the youthful and agile population. It also aims to push for more mechanization in agriculture. The programme modular goals are achieved through sensitization, re-orientation and motivational programmes.
Interested participants can apply to join the programme through the organization website.
National Conditional Cash Transfer Programme ( NCCT)
NCCT is one of the costliest empowerment programmes of any Nigerian government. It is an arm of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) and domiciled under the Household Uplifting programme. The programme is targeted at very poor and vulnerable households in the country. Participants are usually identified by government intermediaries in collaboration with local authorities and captured in the National Social Register (NSR). The NSR is the database used by the government to identify enrolled participants for subsequent cash transfer.
A total of 30,000 Naira is transferred to beneficiaries annually in bits of 5,000 Naira every two months.
The programme is directly coordinated by the office of the Vice president through the ministries of health, education, environment and the National primary health care development agency (NPHCDA). It is executed in partnership with the World Bank, UNICEF, Save the children and other international organizations.
Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise (LIFE) Programme
Life is an ambitious agricultural revolution Initiative of the federal government of Nigeria. It aims to ultimately provide training and financial assistance to about 1,995,500 youths and 997,500 women across the country. The programme will also fast track access to loans and grants for all of its millions of participants.
The programme is still in its development phase and directly coordinated by the office of the President through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Advice on youth empowerment schemes
There’s currently an endless list of advertised empowerment programmes in Nigeria. We’ve taken extra care in sifting out the current, legitimate and government recognized programmes to ensure our readers are not misguided.
As a rule of thumb, programmes with websites using the gov.ng domain are government sponsored and are less likely to be fraudulent. We encourage our readers to be extra cautious when participating in social empowerment programmes that are not recognized by the government especially those that require payment for participation.