The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bank of Industry on provision of N1 billion loan facility for the Ife youths.
Oba Ogunwusi signed for the palace while the acting Managing Director, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, signed on behalf of the bank at a ceremony at the palace in Ile Ife on Sunday.
Olagunju said the loan which would attract an interest rate of 7.5 per cent was aimed at empowering the youths to curb unemployment as well as youth restiveness.
He stated that no fewer than 5,000 youths would benefit from the loan, adding that the loan would encourage entrepreneurship and and boost local production of goods.
Olagunju said, “We have been partnering with multinational and corporate companies, but today we are collaborating with traditional rulers. These are people who have access to the grass root. Partnering with them is a way of democratising entrepreneurship. We identify areas in which communities have comparative advantages and invest in them.
“The beneficiaries will be selected using the world best practices. For this edition, about 15 to 20 per cent of them will be those who deal in local products. We are working with the entrepreneurship centre of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Applications are expected to be submitted and a joint committee of BoI team, the Oduduwa House and OAU team would access it.
“They are to be monitored by members of the committee and elders, especially the traditional rulers. We estimate that about 5,000 youths will benefit from this.”
Oba Ogunwusi said he would not mind to go hungry in order to ensure that the youths were cared for.
According to him, the loan will go a long way to discourage youths from taking to crime because the loan would raise their hope that there was a bright future if they worked hard.