Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, says the federal government has disbursed N100 billion in five years to support businesses.
Keyamo, who was represented by Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, director-general of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday.
Speaking at an empowerment programme held in Jos, the minister said the disbursement of N100 billion was done through the Development Bank of Nigeria since 2017.
“You will all agree with me that unemployment is one of the remote causes of banditry, terrorism, corruption and other forms of criminality.
“Even though the Federal Government is working hard at check terrorism and all other forms of criminality and violent crimes, it is equally prosecuting the war against mass unemployment.
“I am proud that the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), whose board I am privileged to chair and also directly supervise, is effectively leading that war against mass unemployment.
“Let me inform you all that the Federal Government has put all plans in place to ensure that businesses succeed in Nigeria.
“The present administration has launched a series of funding and capacity development initiatives designed to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
“Since 2017, the Development Bank of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N100 billion through the bank’s 27 participating financial institutions (PFIs), thereby impacting more than 100,000 MSMEs.
“It is heartwarming to note that 52 percent of loans disbursed in 2019 and 2020 were to youths and women-owned businesses,” the statement read.
He added that empowerment programmes for women were designed to ensure that beneficiaries acquire relevant skills for starting their own businesses.
“Our goal is to provide them with quick income-generating opportunities because of their roles in providing family support and sound social stability at the very foundation of society,” he said.
“I am proud to inform you that the Women Employment Branch (WEB) of the Small Scale Enterprises Department of the NDE is responsible for driving initiatives aimed at providing ample opportunities for women with the entire framework of our employment creation processes.
“Our objective in empowering women is clear. We create employment for women to improve their socio-economic status, reduce poverty, create wealth and boost their leadership qualities, so that they can have a say in their immediate community in relevant decision-making processes.”