By Princewill Ekwujuru
THE Bank of Industry (BoI) said it has revised its interest rates on loans for members of the National Youth Service Corp, NYSC, under its Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) programme to zero per cent from nine percent as part of its move to encourage youth entrepreneurship.
The GEF scheme being implemented by the bank in partnership with the NYSC Directorate, currently in the second edition, has recorded over N262.9 million disbursements to 177 successful candidates.
BoI, in a statement, said the loans at zero per cent interest became effective from May 01, 2017, adding that existing GEF loans and those to be disbursed from that date will require repayment of only the principal amounts, while the 177 candidates that have been financed under the scheme will be required to pay loan interest that accrued up to 30th April, 2017.
The bank noted that as at March 31, 2017, it approved N583.8 million for disbursements for entrepreneurs under the scheme, adding that the gesture was motivated by the larger part of the 177 candidates who have exhibited strong dedication to their businesses and have demonstrated unusual commitment to repayment of their loans, including the nine percent interest.
“The Bank of Industry is highly delighted in the outcome of its investment in these young Nigerians. The bank firmly believes that entrepreneurship is a critical pathway to resolving the worrisome unemployment problem in the country. Hence, the bank desires to ensure the businesses that have been created through the GEF programme remain sustainable with progressive migration from small businesses to medium and eventually to large enterprises.
It is believed that this gesture will further attract young Nigerians that are undergoing their one-year compulsory National youth service to embrace entrepreneurship by participating in the GEF programme. It is pertinent to reiterate that the zero per cent interest charge on loans only applies to the GEF programme which is implemented in partnership with NYSC Directorate,” the bank stated.