ANALYSIS: Between the Buhari administration and YouWIN

by Mark Amaza

Yesterday, the Federal Government on Twitter announced plans to continue with the Youth Enterprise with Innovation (YouWIN!) program that was started by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.

The scheme gave young people up to the age of 40 grants of between N1million to N10 million to start or expand their businesses, with the winners selected after business applications had been thoroughly assessed by the Federal Ministry of Finance, which partnered with organizations including the World Bank and the UK’s Department for International Development on the scheme. Over three editions, a total of 4500 awardees were selected including one edition that was solely for women entrepreneurs.

The announcement by the FG elicited quite a lot of positive reactions with those who were happy that the scheme had been ‘revived’. On the other hand, there was also a lot of gloating from those who supported the former president in the last election, who accused the APC of going back to an idea that they had lampooned.

However, I am yet to see record of either the APC or any of its chieftains criticizing the party. It thus seems that those gloating had conflated the criticisms of persons online who support(ed) the party as the official opinions of the party.

It is also weird that this particular announcement that the APC administration will continue with YouWIN! elicited such a reaction considering the fact that they had made two similar announcements in the last nine months, the latest just coming in last month.

Without doubt, YouWIN! was a brilliant program, and not just by Nigerian standards. The grants were awarded without needing connections – which is rare in Nigeria, sadly – and even one of the designers of the scheme said the results were beyond expectations. The strongest criticism of the scheme has come from the international NGO, ActionAid who said that the scheme does not tie into any pre-existing employment plans and projects of the government.

But was the Buhari administration wrong to have not continued with the scheme immediately upon assumption of office? I do not think so.

There is nothing wrong with an incoming government, especially one from a different party, taking stock of the effectiveness of a policy or program before deciding whether to continue with it or not. Inasmuch as government is a continuum, there is need to be sure that each program or policy was worth continuing with. The only problem is the pace at which that assessment proceeded with – it should not have taken this long to continue.

Another fact that has slipped by most critics is also the fact that the last batch of YouWIN! awardees had not been paid the full sums of their grants before the Jonathan administration elapsed, and that backlog was cleared by this administration.

In my opinion, the criticism of this government over YouWIN! was over the top.

Now that the scheme has been relaunched as YouWINConnect!, and according to the Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun, “with new ideas injected for its sustainability”, we anticipate that the scheme will produce the same stellar results as its previous version at the very least.

Inasmuch as the number of jobs it will create will fall far short of the total number of jobs needed, it is still a laudable idea and deserves all the support it needs.

In the meantime, it is best that all interested start getting their business plans ready.

Comments (2)

  1. YouWINConnect: Its good that Buhari is CONNECTING Jonathan, YouWINConnect-YouWIN. NigeriansWIN in continuity, surely.

  2. YouWINConnect: Its good that Buhari is CONNECTING Jonathan, YouWINConnect-YouWIN. NigeriansWIN in continuity, surely.

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