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News Roundup: CBN launches new intervention scheme to tackle youth unemployment, Nigeria: World Bank recommends ‘industrialised manufacturing’ to boost job creation, Price of smartphones continue to keep millions of Nigerians offline…

CBN launches new intervention scheme to tackle youth unemployment
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has formally launched the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), with a charge to beneficiaries to utilize the loans for the purpose it was meant for, just as he inaugurated an 11-member Body of Experts to oversee the screening of prospective beneficiaries of the scheme aimed at tackling unemployment and underemployment among Nigerian youth.

Performing the launch at the Bank’s Head Office in Abuja on Thursday, November 25, 2021, Emefiele disclosed that the formal launch of the TIES and inauguration of the Body of Experts (BoE) for the Scheme’s Developmental Component underscored the critical roles youth play in building new blocks for economic growth, particularly as the country’s national growth was highly dependent on a strong and competitive business. “Bridging their financing gaps and enhancing access to low-cost credit to drive the development of business is a task that can only be addressed by an innovative financing model that correlates with the complexity and dynamics of these small businesses,” he posited.

According to him, the TIES was designed to address three verticals – the Term Loan component, the Equity Investment component and the Development Grant Component. While the Term Loan component provides direct credit opportunities to graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities of not more than seven years post-graduation; the Equity Investment Component is designed to support start-ups, existing businesses requiring expansion, and ailing businesses seeking resuscitation.

The third vertical – Developmental Grant Component – is aimed at raising awareness and visibility of entrepreneurship among undergraduates of Nigerian tertiary institutions. Under this vertical, polytechnics and universities in Nigeria are expected to compete in a national biennial entrepreneurship competition where undergraduates are presented by the tertiary institutions to pitch.

Nigeria: World Bank recommends ‘industrialised manufacturing’ to boost job creation
The World Bank has advised Nigeria and other sub-Sub-Saharan countries to accelerate the adoption of ‘industrialized manufacturing’ to bridge the widening unemployment gap, a development that will have a remarkable effect on countries’ economic growth rate. According to the World Bank, Nigeria and other sub-Sub-Saharan countries must put industrialization-driven reforms at the forefront of policy strategies for Sub-Saharan African countries.

“The fragmentation of manufacturing activities across countries has created opportunities to industrialize, which offers a viable path to structural transformation and job creation for African countries,” the World Bank report said in a report titled ‘Industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Seizing Opportunities in Global Value Chains’. “Efforts to create jobs, reduce poverty and drive sustainable growth on a large scale in Sub-Saharan Africa would benefit from an expansion of the manufacturing sector, hence industrialization-driven structural transformation should therefore be at the forefront of policy strategies for Sub-Saharan African countries,” it states. It further stated that the rapid transformation of manufacturing has been the mainstay of structural transformation and the resulting economic growth and development, as it presents greater opportunities to accumulate capital, exploit economies of scale, acquire new technologies, and more fundamentally foster embodied and disembodied technological change. In Africa, 10 to 12 million youth enter the workforce annually while only 3.1 million jobs are created, leaving vast numbers of youth unemployed, this is worsened by the fact that Africa’s youth population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Read also: CBN holds interest rate for 8th straight time on slowing inflation

Price of smartphones continue to keep millions of Nigerians offline
The high price of smartphones has continued to keep millions of Nigerians off the internet. A study carried out by Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in 187 countries shows that in countries like Nigeria, It has to take 45 percent of monthly income which is almost half of the salary of an average earner per month while the global cost is 26 percent of monthly income.

The average cost of a smartphone globally is around 26 percent of an average monthly income which is about $104. However, this percentage of affordability varies between regions and countries which have made smartphones inaccessible to many which Nigeria is not excluded. A4AI is a global body working to bring down the price of internet access in low and middle–income countries of the world.

The report shows that in regions like Latin America, it will take 14 percent of monthly income to afford the cheapest smartphone in the market while in North America it drops even to 2 percent showing low affordability. The cheapest smartphone in Nigeria according to A4AI is #20,000 which will take low-income earners months to afford. Paddy Ezeala, a Public Affair Analyst noted that smartphones are imported in Nigeria from other countries and if the currency did not meet up with foreign currency, it will be costly for an average Nigerian to afford because the price will definitely be high.

According to Paddy, financial and economic activities are carried out on smartphones and if people are shut off the internet as a result of prices, it is akin to talking about the digital economy without the infrastructure. “The unaffordability of smartphones will delay Nigerians especially the youth to fit into the modern economic era because smartphones have become the major platform for modern transactions and without it, they can’t fit in very well,” Paddy said.

Lagos launches new electricity policy December 8
The Lagos state government will formally launch its new electricity sector policy designed to steer investors into its independent power market on December 8, a government representative has said. Titilola Amodu, geologist at the Lagos state Ministry of Energy in a presentation at the Nordic-Nigerian Connect conference held on Wednesday said the policy will deepen the adoption of green energy in the state.
Energy supply is currently the single biggest infrastructure and development challenge in the state, and this policy will deal with that,” he said. Under the policy, the state government will establish an autonomous regulatory agency that will license participants to undertake market monitoring and ensure that prices charged by market participants are cost-reflective and fair to end-users.

The state is considering an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), developed along with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Power Africa Nigeria Power Sector Programme that will generate, transmit, and distribute power from both gas and renewable energy. This is expected to significantly contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions and raise the living conditions of Lagosians.

The policy will ensure that future electricity solutions are not only available but environmentally friendly with alternative power backup solutions. Amodu said that the dream of making Lagos a 21st century economy is impossible without reliable access to electricity, something the current public supply does not guarantee.

Nigeria Air to take off April 2022 – Aviation minister
The Federal Government has said Nigeria’s new national airline, known as Nigeria Air, would officially commence operations in April 2022. Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation announced the take-off date while briefing state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja. He said the Nigerian government would hold a five per cent stake in the proposed national carrier. Nigerian entrepreneurs would hold 46 percent.

Sirika said the remaining 49 per cent would be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors. Hadi Sirika said the national carrier would create about 70,000 jobs for Nigerians. Sirika had shortly after coming into office in 2015 launched an aviation development roadmap that included a new national carrier and other interventions in the country’s aviation sector as priorities. The project, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is to replace the defunct Nigeria Airways which ceased operations in 2003.

Saraki declares intention to contest 2023 Presidency
Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President, has announced his intention to run for the office of the president in 2023. Saraki made his intention known during a visit to the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on Tuesday night.

According to a report, Saraki went to Makurdi in the company of former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former national chairman of the PDP, Kawu Baraje, Senator Suleiman Adokwe and the Chairman of Council, Saraki for President Campaign, Iyorwuese Hagher.

Speaking during the visit, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain said that the party was ready to lead the country out of its current predicament. According to him,” A political party that cannot organize its affairs has no business leading this country. A party that has organized its affairs is ready to lead the country and that is the PDP.”

The former Kwara State Governor from 2003-2007, stated further that the North Central geopolitical zone had paid its due by working so hard to keep the country together as one united entity and should be given the chance to rule the country. He, however, seeks the support of people of the region towards realizing his presidential ambition. “This time we must stand for our own and charity they say begins at home,” he added.

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