Osinbajo reassures the youth of $600m enterprise support fund by AfDB

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed optimism that the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s 600 million dollars support fund for digital and creative enterprise in Nigeria will be ready by early 2022.

VP Osinbajo said this at an interactive session with graduands of Edo Tech Park, in Benin City, Edo, on Friday.

He said that the Federal Government was committed to supporting young tech entrepreneurs and creating enabling environment for them to thrive.

“I think that one of the crucial things that the Federal Government has done is what we call the Technical and Advisory Council on Creativity and Technology

“That council was set up with young people who are in the tech sector and in the entertainment sector.

“The whole idea was for young people to advise in the formulation of policy in technology and the creative space.

“The reason why we decided to that is because technology for example is all over the world,’’ Osinbajo said.

According to him, one of the reasons why Nigeria has a good number of successful fintechs is because of the creativity council.

VP Osinbajo said that the council looked at all the policies and regulations around the licensing and regulation of payment companies.

“Many of the Fintech companies fitted into that space; but the problem that in order to do anything in the financial space, you probably will need a banking licence or a licence of some sort.

“So, if you are going to be handling a service of any kind or lending money, especially large sums of money, you probably will need a banking licence; now a banking licence is N25 billion to be able to do that.

“So, what the council did, working with the CBN, was to look at other types of licences that could be given to people who are in the fintech space; doing financial processing of various kinds of services in that space; who are not banks but who in many ways, behave like banks in some particular areas,’’ he added.

He said that the CBN, then, developed a number of licences which were issued to fintech companies but were not banking licences.

The vice president said that several of these companies had become billion dollar companies because a space was opened up for them.

“So, you will find that there are several companies now that lend money and this is really good because it opened up micro-credit space.

“A lot of small businesses that want to borrow but they don’t have collateral but you find a lot of these companies that are enabled by technology have the algorithms that can help to very quickly tell whether this person looks will pay back and how they will pay back.

“So, without necessary asking for any collateral, they are able to advance credit just by the use of technology.

“So, that’s one very important things that government has done; government, by the way is a regulator; one of the things that we like to do is to avoid government getting in the way of people who are trying to do their business well.’’

According to him, too much government involvement in the business space will create chaos, hence it is better for it to operate as a regulator.

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