Graduate start-up loan

I read the other day that Corpers can now expect to have access to loan after a year-long service for those interested in setting up business of their own. Unlike other bank loans whereby getting required collateral is a deterrent for majority of Nigerians, here, the only requirement is the Youth Corps Discharge Certificate.

Interested graduate could get between 250k and 400k naira, bank determines how much to give based on business plan.

No doubt most people who would be interested in taking up this loan in the first instance are the folks from state and federal university just because they are likely to be from low-income households.

It would have been helpful if terms and conditions of this loan are stated clearly online to guide those who might be interested. I think even with the maximum of 400k ($2k), one can not rely on this alone and be expected to start paying principal + interest back in just six months – I suppose those taking up the loans will need to understand the terms well beforehand otherwise this may backfire.

The idea of helping new graduates to secure soft loans is meant to complement existing NYSC Skill Acquisition Program that all Corpers were supposed to have participated in during the course of their service year.

All great stuff as it seems something is being done to reduce unemployment rate in the country.

Here is what I found a bit unsettling, if this program is sponsored by the federal government, why are the Corpers not given equal access to the same variety of skills to choose from in all of our regions?  It seems the head of youth corp is aware of this but prefer to believe the opposite.

Here’s a statement from the NYSC Director-General Johnson Olawumi:

“He debunked allegations that the corps is yet to provide skill acquisition and entrepreneurship development to corps members, adding that the exercise has been ongoing since 2012.” – Pulse News

My question is instead of Brigade-General ‘debunking’ allegations, why can he delegate people to get accurate information from those making complaints, do random follow-up on stations to see if indeed all Corpers were given access to expected trainings.

I think the program is impressive but I also learned that Local Government Inspectors have different attitude toward this program which means some of our Corpers have fewer technical programs to choose from while others have plenty.

Also why is the fees paid to continue the scheme after three weeks in camp differ from region to region even when participating in similar program?

For example a Corper in one region paid 10k naira to train for leather work, while, in another region under the same scheme, learning the same leather work a Corper had to pay 15k naira.

I hope the corp members who are affected first hand by this disparity in fees and available skills to choose from can share information amongst themselves so Brigade General can make needed correction.

Thinking about this skill acquisition program, my hope over the next few years, this program will be better developed to mirror useful skill gaps in the country and then move it to our technical/polytechnic schools – I’m sure many people would get a lot out focusing on one skill for two years after secondary school.

Categories: Education, Nigeria

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18 replies

  1. Hello, I just rounded up NYSC last month so I know a little about the Skill Acquisition Programme.

    The costs for the programme may be different in different regions because they are handled by separate tutors. Suppose two corps member wanted to learn Photography in Oyo State, and after camp one was posted to Ibadan, the other to Ogbomosho. They would belong to different Local Governments and require different tutors. NYSC at present does not subsidize the tutors, so they charge according to their reality.

    About the DG commenting, I think he said so because SAED – as the programme is called – is run in every State and every Local Government. The usual problems are that corps members are not interested in the particular programmes run by their Local Government. This is because why there will be a lot of photographers (and photography tutors) in Eti-Osa, there are probably far less in Tambuwal Local Government.

    My two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your contribution.

      I hear you, to me this is where the program is failing. Nigeria needs to reduce unemployment figure, I would think the best way is to do the negotiations with interested proprietors so the fee charged is uniform across our regions, government may not have to subsidise if the process of selecting proprietors for required skills goes through merit-based screening process. It is a guaranteed job opportunity so should be easy to get those who will be happy for the contract. And if government has to subsided a bit, that is still much better sacrifice than BH has cost us.

      Understandable that some corps members aren’t interested, but out of 400k or corps per year I bet significant amount are interested and the only way to get more people to willingly participate is to increase options and value for money.

      Apparently in Oyo state, everyone has to participate in at least one program, is that true?
      If you don’t mind me asking, how is it in Lagos for you, did you participate/worth your time if you participated that is?


      • Re-reading my earlier comment, I can see a lot of typos lol.

        I really do not know how the programme is organized in Oyo State. In Lagos, as I think it happens everywhere else, you choose between participating in the regular Community Development Service or participating in the SAED programme. I chose the regular CDS. However, I know a couple of people who did Photography and got jobs from the experience.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Me I have NYSC discharge cert o! Do I qualify? Even though its been 17 years now

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In theory it sounds like a good idea.

    I agree with you, in that terms and conditions should be made explicit. Why is there variation across the country about the money involved for the same program? Standardisation and uniformity should be enforced, no room for local officials to force themselves into the money equation ie trying to divert some of it their way.

    Also how to protect the state from the circulation of false qualification papers?

    I think it is a step in the right direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In terms of the skill acquisition program not having the same standard across the nation – that beats me too. And it makes no sense that we thread in the same path everyone knows what the end result is likely to be.
      Agreed that standardisation and uniformity is essential here, at the moment this is not the case. Presently SW is said to offer cheaper fees per course, more variety of options than their counterparts.


      • What about the measures to check against fraud and abuse? Also, what percentage of people has the government marked in that will pay back the loan? Remember the oil subsidy, it was meant as a short term measure and now it has ballooned into a mammoth.

        Liked by 1 person

        • – I think the concept is still in its infancy, let’s hope there’ll be proper monitoring as anything to do with cash in Nigeria tends to attract fraud especially when it is ‘government money’

          – Paying back loan is something else in Nigeria, however, there are success stories of people adhering to contractual terms from local lenders.

          If I were to do this, business plan + NYSC discharge cert. alone would not be the sole reason to get this loan, I think it should be mean tested too so as to give priority to those who needed it the most with the hope that are less likely to default…

          Also, another way of preventing fraud will be active online forum where folks can share information and ideas.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Those are pretty good suggestions you came up with. Government is surely ‘missing a trick’ by not consulting the likes of yourself.
            The SW has shown by it’s willingness to get this scheme off the ground it is the most serious region of all the others about this project. The others should not sit back and cry favouritism when the fruits start to blossom in the SW. They all had equal notice and the Yorubas are the ‘first out of the blocks’. It is a matter of get prepared or be left slumbering when the gun goes off.

            Thank you for the answers.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds like a great idea, Fola. But you are right the terms have to made known to all and to put them on line is a good idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dear Folakemi,

    Great plan IF properly executed, and thanks for those suggestions among which is making every info about the loan scheme available online.

    It is, indeed, a help, even if a tiny one, in reducing unemployment and encouraging self-improvement.

    Regards, as always,

    Liked by 1 person

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