“The Ministry said it will soon update all stakeholders on the next phases of the YouWin! Connect programme and further pointed out that such clarification became necessary because many participants in the programme had sought information on how their businesses could be supported, having completed the second phase of the YouWin Connect Capacity Building.”
Winners of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria Connect programme on Monday stormed the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance in Abuja to protest the non-payment of their grant.
The angry youths complained about the non-release of their grant, which they noted had remained unpaid for almost a year.
The awardees described the development as frustrating as it was negatively affecting the ventures that the grant ought to have been used to support when their proposals were approved by the Federal Government.
The YouWin programme is an innovative business plan competition aimed at job creation by encouraging and supporting aspiring entrepreneurial youths in Nigeria to develop and execute good business ideas.
Speaking with our correspondent, one of the awardees, who gave her name as Rita Nduonufit, said the non-release of the grant was affecting the drive to use the programme as an avenue to create jobs.
She stated, “We are here to protest the non-funding of our businesses under the YouWin programme. There is money because prior to 2017, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said that they had N100bn for this rebranded project of the YouWin programme.
“Now, we are stuck; we have written to the President; we have written to the Vice President; and we have written to the Ministry of Finance and they said they were done with us.”
She expressed disappointment at the non-release of the funds despite the fact that about 5,000 out of the over 160,000 of them who applied for the programme were adjudged successful by the ministry.
Nduonufit added, “Hundreds of thousands of us applied for the programme. We were shortlisted to 61,000 people and we were moved on to an online programme before the number was further trimmed to 5,000 and called us winners of the YouWin programme.
“These 5,000 people were exposed to an in-house capacity building training and here we are, no response from the ministry, no communication and we have no funds.”
The Ministry of Finance has, however, promised to address the grievances of participants in the YouWin! Connect programme.
This was the outcome of the meeting between officials of the ministry and representatives of the YouWin! Connect capacity building programme after the protest.
The ministry said in a statement that it would soon update all stakeholders on the next phases of the programme.
The statement pointed out that the clarification became necessary as many participants in the programme had sought information on how their businesses could be supported, having completed the second phase of the capacity building programme.