The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to establish an Entrepreneurship Development Bank of Nigeria.
The consolidated bill was jointly sponsored by Messrs Benjamin Kalu and Olalekan Afolabi.
The objective of the bank is to provide soft loans for small and medium-scale enterprises in the country.
Leading the debate on the bill at plenary on Wednesday, Kalu said the proposed bank would be charged with the responsibility, among other things, of providing medium and long-term finance for indigenous small businesses.
He added that the bill, focuses on Nigerian youths and contemplated providing improved access to finance for youth entrepreneurs in innovation, manufacturing, agriculture and trade.
According to the lawmaker, a fundamental challenge to youth entrepreneurship capacity is the lack of access to functional and effective finance. He stated that the existing financial institutions are not really servicing the real needs of the indigenous business or initiatives owned and run by the youth.
He said, “In most cases, their requirements are way beyond the reach of such entrepreneurs; and their operational modalities are not really designed to deliberately encourage indigenous small businesses. A closer look at the operational modalities of the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Development Bank of Nigeria would show that there is no clear-cut intention and support for indigenous small businesses owned and run by youth.
“Commercial and microfinance banks are not even feasible options for indigenous small businesses. This is the gap which the contemplated bank would fill. There is a need for a specialised bank, which would target the youth at different levels and scope with emphasis on harnessing abundant potentials for economic growth.”