BoI earmarks N10bn to support young entrepreneurs 

… Partners 2 states, Dangote to revive PAN

From Amechi Ogbonna, Abuja

Efforts by the Federal Government to revive ailing industries across the country may soon get fresh boost as Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, the Bank of Industry (BoI), as well as Kaduna and Kebbi states government have submitted bid to the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to buy majority stake in Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited.
This was even as the BoI said it has set aside a whopping N10 billion to support Nigerian youthful entrepreneurs achieve their dreams of becoming employers of labour.
Hints on the latest effort to revive PAN were given by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, in Abuja yesterday at the formal launch of the Youth Entrepreneurship Support Scheme (YESS)by the BoI.
El-Rufai said Kaduna and Kebbi, along with development lender, BoI and Dangote, had submitted bids for the stake, which AMCON  is considering to sell to private investors.
PAN, the Nigerian assembly plant located in Kaduna State, has Peugeot Citroen PEUPPA as its technical partner with a capacity to assemble 240 cars a day, it said on its website, but its fortunes have been badly hurt by bad management and low sales.
“We have submitted bids for the carmaker. With Aliko Dangote on board together with BoI, Kebbi and Kaduna states, we are confident that our bids will sail through,” El-Rufai told a gathering at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton where young Nigerian entrepreneurs had gathered for the launch of the YESS programme.
Although he could not provide more details on the transaction, Daily Sun learnt the bids for AMCON’s stake in PAN closed on January 26, 2016.
Observers have noted, however, that Dangote’s involvement in the auto industry would revive PAN, as it is expected to transfer the success in cement, oil, food and sugar business, and several agro-allied projects. It is also expected to lead to a massive job creation for the citizens.
Before the economic slow down, vehicle assembly plants and textile companies were among the largest employment generating operators in the economy.
Speaking at the event, Acting Managing Director of BoI, Waheed Olagunju, said the bank remained committed to supporting Nigerian youths with credible business proposals. He explained that about N10 billion has already been set aside to support such people realise their dream of running their own businesses.
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the issue of job creation remains a critical component of the Buhari administration’s economic agenda. “We are targeting to create about 3.5 million jobs over the next three years and, already, we have set in motion job trackers to monitor the jobs created in about four key sectors of the economy.”
Osinbajo, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Job Creation, Imokhueude Salsa, said that Nigerians can leverage the many online learning components to enable the youths learn the rudiments of business management. He assured that government would continue to partner relevant global agencies in the interest of Nigerian young entrepreneurs.
Also speaking, the DG of NYSC said the Corps has trained over 500,000 of young members in various skills that will enable them efficiently manage the funds given them.
ADB Country Representative in Nigeria said the bank will continue to support organizations committed to supporting the growth Nigerian economy
He listed businesses like garment making building construction, packaging as areas the youths imbibe the virtues of hard work, integrity and prompt repayment  of loans given to them.

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