Nigeria’s first lady, Aisha Buhari, has called on captains of industry and financial institutions to grant more access to credit facilities to corps members.
Aisha, who was represented in Abuja yesterday by the wife of the vice president, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, at the closing ceremony of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme, said the loans would help them utlise their skills.
Speaking on the theme, “NYSC SAED: A Gateway To National Development’’, the first lady commended the NYSC for sustaining the SAED festival since its maiden edition in 2017.
“This occasion underscores the fact that the scheme in its 48 years of existence has continued to play a significant role in our nation building, especially in promoting national unity and providing manpower in critical sectors of the economy.
“The current focus on youth entrepreneurship through the SAED has taken the scheme to a higher level. I therefore, call on captains of industry and financial institutions to grant more access to credit facilities to these Corp members,” she said.
The director general of NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, said since the institutionalisation of the SAED programme, up to 1,409,000 corps had been sensitised on the need for self-empowerment.
“Out of these, 764,677 have so far completed the full skills and entrepreneurship training while up to 18,682 have set up businesses through self-help, bank loans and grants from donors,” he said
He said despite the successes there were some challenges which include the shortage of logistics for training and the limited funding opportunities that see only a fraction of the corps entrepreneurs able to access start-up capital.
The director, SAED, Mr Hilary Nasamu, said the closing ceremony was the culmination of activities which had been taking place in the past three days which include series of skills competitions in fashion designing, ICT, tie/dye, cake baking and decoration, shoe making/leather works, bead stringing and designing among corps competitors from the 37 NYSC secretariats nationwide.