Adeosun reopens NERFUND, recalls members of staff

Minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun

Minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun

Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has ordered the reopening of the recently shut National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) and equally directed staff sent away to immediately return to their duty posts today.

In a statement by the Director of Press and Information of the Ministry, Alhaji Salisu Na’Inma Dambatta, the Minister declared that the reopening of the Federal Government finance development establishment was sequel to the resolution of the crisis which pitched the staff against the two Interim Executive Management Staff seconded to the establishment from the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation ( NDIC ) over allegation of high – handedness

It would be recalled that staff of the Agency were directed in a Circular signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse on June 15, 2016,  to stay away from work to forestall further breakdown of law and order as a result of disputes between the Executive Management, Senior Management and other staff of the organization.

The staff then insisted that the two Interim Executive Management Members must leave. It was not clear yesterday if the Ministry has released them to return to their parents organizations. A staff in the Office of the Permanent Secretary said they have been eased out.

NERFUND was established in 1989 to provide medium to long-term financing to viable Small and Medium scale production enterprises to increase the quantity of goods and services available for local consumption and export, provide needed employment, expand our production base and add value to the economy.

The Fund has so far extended credit facilities for 2, 829 projects valued N9.5 billion between 1989 and 1999. All Nigerians are qualified to apply for NERFUND loans either as individuals, Associations, Cooperatives or Corporate Entities/partner institutions.

Meanwhile, the Ministry said it was  set to start consultations with beneficiaries and other stakeholders on the restructuring and refocusing of the multi-billion Naira Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme with the objective of injecting new ideas for its sustainability.

The Federal Ministry of Finance, which has been running the programme from inception, has scheduled the consultation for July 22, 2016 in Abuja, where representatives of the beneficiaries drawn from the six-geo-political zones and other stakeholders would chart a way forward for aaqqqathe programme.

Under the programme which took off in 2011, a total of 18, 000 young entrepreneurs have been trained in various aspects of Small and Medium Enterprises management and business skills; and 3, 900 of them, including 1, 200 women, were each given non-repayable take-off grants for businesses of their choice ranging from N1 million up to a maximum of N10 million.

The third edition of the programme, which is still running with 1,500 beneficiaries, has received the sum of N11.2 billion in funding, and so far grants totaling N7.4 billion have been disbursed to the awardees.  In June 2016 alone, the sum of N1.687 billion was paid to 638 awardees.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said that as part of the change agenda of the current administration, the YouWin programme has to be restructured to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries by the Federal Government.

Mrs Adeosun confirmed that all FG commitments under the YouWIN programme will be fully met, but due diligence would be carried out on every beneficiary, using tools like the Bank Verification Number (BVN), and before disbursements.

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