The flag off of the pilot scheme of the National Peer Group Educator on Financial Inclusion Programme for Volunteer Corps Members was held following the successful training of the volunteer Corps members in twelve pilot states spread across the six geo-political zones for the programme.
The Programme is being anchored by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with partners, including the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, who presided over the ceremony at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Mangu, Plateau State, spoke of the urgent need to create awareness of the benefits of financial products and services for young people, farmers as well as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
He said the initiative on peer education came as a result of the position of Nigeria in the World Reports on Financial Inclusion in developing countries, which indicates very low patronage of financial products and services in the country.
Dalung, who was represented by the Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mrs. Tayo Orewemu, said the programme would sensitize the target group to become financially literate and make informed financial decisions while managing their resources.
"In addition, the programme will help reduce the rate of youth unemployment and restiveness in our country and provide young entrepreneurs with increased access to fund/ credit facilities and business skills," he said.
The Minister urged the volunteer Corps members to make the best use of the Knowledge acquired in sensitizing others, especially young people, across the country.
He thanked the NYSC and other partners for providing the platform for the programme, and expressed confidence that the targets set would be achieved.
In his remarks, the NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Sulaiman Kazaure, noted that the inclusion of Corps members in the programme was not only a recognition of their invaluable contributions and patriotic zeal, but also an endorsement of the role of youths as drivers of the Nigerian economy.
Kazaure assured that the Corps members would strive to justify the confidence reposed in them.
"The Scheme shall key into this initiative by getting the right financial education in order to empower our already trained Corps members on the Skills Acquisition Programme," he added.
The states selected for the pilot stage are Abia, Anambra, Edo, Gombe, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Taraba.
Other partners in the programme are the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Pension Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, the Association of Non-Bank Microfinance Institutions of Nigeria and the National Insurance Commission.