NEC approves $617m digital enterprises programme in 36 states, FCT

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National Economic Council (NEC) has approved implementation of the $617.7 million Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) programme in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT.)

VP Shettima

The programme, established in 2021 by the former Muhammadu Buhari administration is expected to be funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) among others, including the Bank of Industry (BoI) on behalf of Federal Government.

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This was part of the resolutions reached at the 140th meeting of the Council held virtually, Thursday and chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, who also assured that the renewed hope agenda of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will ‘leave a legacy of prosperity and opportunity for all Nigerians.’

VP Shettima told State Governors to nominate persons to represent each geo-political zone at the zonal level and focal persons to lead the implementation of the programme in their respective States, as he disclosed that the scheme becomes operational in the coming weeks, implementation across the country will be diligent, committed and forthright.

“When we empower entrepreneurs and small business owners, we unlock the potential for innovation, job creation, and economic growth. By providing access to financing, training, and mentorship programs, we unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that lies within every Nigerian, catalyzing a wave of economic prosperity that benefits us all. We cannot achieve this without inclusivity and equitable access to opportunities. This is the ladder we must offer to every disadvantaged citizen,” he said.

Noting that it is not the best of times to be in office, Shettima implored the Governors and other council members to remain constant in executing initiatives that will help to wriggle the citizens out of their present condition.

“This is a delicate period to occupy offices like ours. We cannot remind ourselves enough that we have come at a time that tests the depth of our leadership and demands our most rational wisdom to make a difference.

“Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we must remain consistent in implementing the initiatives that alleviate the suffering of our citizens and be accountable in doing so. We must also ensure that interventions we deploy are non-discriminatory and favour all stakeholders, with no part of our communities or nation left lagging,” he stated.

In his presentation on the i-DICE programme, the Executive Director in charge of SMES at the Bank of Industry, Mr. Shekarau Omar said the i-DICE programme, a special intervention by government, aims to deliver on the promise by the Tinubu-led administration to create millions of jobs in the technology space. Omar further gave a breakdown of how the funds will be sourced as follows: AfDB, $170million; IsDB, $70 million; AFD, $116 million; Bank of Industry (BoI) on behalf of federal government of Nigeria (FGN), $45.50 million; Fund Manager (For Equity Fund only), $8.70 million, and private investors, $205 million.

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