FG Pays N2.6bn to 638 YouWin Awardees After Protests Over Delayed Payments
Federal Government has paid the sum of N1.6 Billion to 638 awardees of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria, YouWin, programme, an initiative of the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
There have been fears about the government of President Muhammadu Buhari scrapping the programme, with series of protests over the delay in grants.
Winners of the third edition of the programme had severally stormed the headquarters of the ministry of finance, almost paralysing business activities at the ministry.
The angry youths in their hundreds accused the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and other top officials in the ministry of frustrating the release of their grants which according to them had remained unpaid for about a year.
The awardees described the development as frustrating as it is negatively affecting the business which the initial grant was used to set up in 2014 when their business proposals were approved by the Federal Government.
But Na’inna Dambatta, director of information at the ministry of information, said the money was paid in June.
Dambatta said 3, 900 of the trainees, including 1, 200 women, were each given non-repayable take-off grants ranging from N1 million to a maximum of N10 million for businesses of their choice.
“The third edition of the programme, which is still running with 1,500 beneficiaries has received the sum of N11.2 billion in funding,” he said in a statement.
“So far, grants totaling N7.4 billion have been disbursed to the awardees.”
Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, said the current administration was set to restructure the programme in line with its “change” agenda.
Adeosun said the restructuring would ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries.
She added that all the commitments made by the federal government under the YouWIN programme would be fully met.
She said every beneficiary would be duly verified, using tools like bank verification number (BVN), before disbursements.
The minister said the federal government would begin consultations with the beneficiaries and other stakeholders of the programme to inject new ideas for its sustainability.
According to the statement, the ministry of finance, which has been running the programme from inception, will hold the consultation on July 22 in Abuja.
Winners of the third edition of the programme, earlier this month, stormed the headquarters of the ministry to protest the delay in the payment of their grants.
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