YIEDP SCAM? CBN/Heritage Bank Frustrates YIEDP Awardee 1 Year On [MUST READ]
My name is Uche Femi Usman (not real). I am a supposed awardee of the first batch of YIEDP ( Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme), a programme initiated by the CBN and facilitated by Heritage Bank Nigeria. The purpose of the programme as given by the CBN governor Mr Godwin Emefiele at the launch of the programme in march 2016 (Last year), in the words of the governor was "to provide TIMELY and AFFORDABLE credit to assist youths in implementing their business ideas, and will target 10,000 youths in productive activities within the next four years". The loan, up to the tune of 3 million naira was to be provided for selected NYSC serving and past members who qualifies from many applications.
Take note of the capitalised words in the speech of the CBN governor (TIMELY and AFFORDABLE) because it is on these words that I am hinging this article on. Let me start from the end, by letting Nigerians know that, since March 2016, that the programme was launched and applications were made, up until today that I write this post (15th February 2017) , non of the selected applicants who have gone through all the necessary processes and met all the requirements stipulated by CBN and Heritage Bank have had access to the TIMELY LOAN.
Now that is not all, not only have the first set of successful applicant being denied the loan almost , the CBN / Heritage bank and other new partner banks have gone ahead to receive two more subsequent applications from desperate Nigerian youths in the name of YIEDP 2 and YIEDP 3. That is, they are yet to finance the businesses of the first batch of youths that applied for the programme one year ago with the TIMELY loan, yet they have gone ahead to receive batch 2 and batch 3 applications for the same scheme.
The CBN and their partner Heritage Bank has through this scheme again, taking advantage of the hapless-ness, helplessness and desperation of the Nigeria youths, to give them false hopes and aspirations that would be dashed on their very heads. To give them dreams, drive, ambition and enthusiasm that will turn out to be their greatest nightmare and utter frustration and a sad reminder that, this is Nigeria, where nothing ever works. Where the dreams and hopes of the impoverished masses are the bricks on which political propaganda are built and the wheels on which the elites deception of the masses are propelled. It's sad. It's terribly disheartening.
Application for what is now the first batch of the programme commenced in March 2016. Training of shortlisted applicants began in June 2016. Three months after the opening of application. They can explain that by telling us that they had to go through over 4000 applications out of which 1500 people were shortlisted for the training. At the training, we were given all sort of inflated dreams and hopes including on how TIMELY and AFFORDABLE the LOAN will be.
After the training, we were made to put up a bankable business plan . A bankable business plan that takes even expert business plan consultants weeks to months to put together, we were made to do in a week. They explained the rush as due to CBN / Heritage Bank's eagerness to fund our business and get us running. Difficult as the task was, we the selected youths displayed the determination and rugged spirit of the Nigeria youths by meeting their demand and submitting our business plans within their given time.
From the time of submitting the business plans in June 2016, we were left incommunicado by both CBN and Heritage Bank, especially Heritage bank who are the facilitator of the scheme. No correspondence was made to us whatsoever. We were left to wallow in endless frustration of uncertainty. It wasn't until some candidates of the scheme began a social media protest tagged "YIEDP SCAM" that Heritage Bank responded to candidates in October 2016. Sending out congratulatory messages to what we later learned was 310 shortlisted candidates out of 1500 previously shortlisted. At this pace one would only wonder how the CBN will reach 10,000 youths with the scheme .
Following the second short listing, 310 qualified candidates whose businesses have been selected for funding were invited to the CBN headquarters for the official DISBURSEMENT ceremony in October 20th 2016 (if I'm not mistaken the exact day) . At the ceremony, much was again said by the initiators and facilitators of the programme and dummy cheques presented to awardees under the beaming lights of the media, and the whole world was made to believe that CBN / Heritage bank has disbursed 3 million naira to 310 successful candidates under the YIEDP. Fast forward to today, 15th February 2017, non of the successful candidates have seen any kobo of the said loan.
That is that about the TIMELY CREDIT. For the AFFORDABLE aspect, Heritage bank through whom the loan was to be made available to us, came up with so many bogus, scary, intimidating and bottle neck terms and conditions that defied and made nonsense of the prefix "intervention" attached to the fund. The kind of requirements stipulated in the offer letters presented to awardees will make you wonder if the scheme was really targeted at young, upcoming NYSC members and recent NYSC past members (Not more than 5 years) . The conditions made the entire programme, not only unaffordable but totally unreachable.
We the awardees protested the conditions at the disbursement ceremony and told them (CBN and Heritage bank) that they had better told us that they are not ready to give hardworking and promising young Nigerian entrepreneurs the little support to grow rather than waste our time and hopes only to present conditions that were meant for the Dangotes and Otedolas. A meeting was held with representatives of CBN, Heritage bank and we the awardees and a promise was given that the conditions will be lowered to align with the original purpose of the programme.
That was in October 2016. The next we will hear from Heritage bank was December 2016. Heritage bank brought forward the "revised" edition of the offer letter and again put us in the fire fighters mode of fulfilling the stipulated conditions within eight (8) days. According to them, the CBN was in a hurry to disburse the funds before the end of the year 2016. Ruggedly and gallantly, with an unflinching determination to succeed against all odds, characteristic of the Nigerian youths, odds that Nigeria has become a bastion of, many of the awardees, putting ourselves under clamp pressure, made sure we met their timing again. Fulfilling the requirements of Heritage Bank within a very strangulating time frame. That was in December 2016. This is February (2nd week) 2017. No one of us have had access to the said TIMELY credit. We have met all conditions, as a matter of fact, we are asking Heritage bank, "is there something else you want us to do? Anything, just mention it". But in their normal style, they have left us to wallow in the agony, frustration and hopelessness of uncertainty. No communication whatsoever, not even from the relationship managers from Heritage bank that are meant to walk with us through the process of disbursement and utilisation of the fund. It's that bad that these relationship officer don't even take the calls of those they are supposed to guild anymore. So we don't just have the slightest idea as to what is next or what is delaying the disbursement of the loan of YIEDP batch 1. I don't know what is happening with YIEDP batch 2 and YIEDP batch 3 applicants.
Now here is the consequence of this almost one year desert journey to access a LOAN. Yes it is a loan. We are to pay back with interest. The 3 million naira that is to be provided for our business has lost its real value times over since March last year that the programme was initiated. It is no longer the 3 million naira it was last year. We all are aware of the sky rocketing inflation in the country. The business plans with which we applied for the loan is completely useless now as the prices of every item to be purchased or obtained have doubled in most cases. A business you need 3 million naira to set up in march 2016, you will need something close to 6 million naira to set up now. The question I have for Heritage bank and CBN is; "are you giving us this loan to help us or to kill us"?? For those of us with existing businesses; are they given us this loan to build our businesses or so that Heritage bank can take over our businesses upon our failure to remit the loan? A failure that they are working frantically to ensure.
With the situation on ground, how many of the awardee can do with 3 million naira now what we would have done with it one year ago? How do you, CBN / Heritage bank propose we cover up the financial deficit? Or you want us to run the same mile with lesser fuel? Do you CBN / Heritage bank intend for the awardee of your scheme to achieve success or to get stranded on the way?
Is YIEDP meant to be a hiking rope or a suicide noose?
Here is another implication of this unending wait for a TIMELY credit. We were made to submit the ORIGINAL copies of our Higher education certificate and NYSC certificate to the bank as collateral. Meaning, those of us that are new businesses can't even look for jobs anymore while waiting for an unknown. It is like an orchestrated plan to completely frustrate an already frustrated, demoralised an already demoralised, make hopeless an already despondent and infuriate and already infuriated Nigerian youths.
For some of us that are existing businesses, considering the hopes given to us that the loan will be timely and considering the rush that Heritage bank put us through to meet requirements, saying that CBN are in a rush to make the loan available, and considering the seasonal nature of our business and also aware of the fact that this is a loan that has to be repaid, we went ahead to take preemptive measures, using our little available personal funds to push our business towards the business plan, expanding our businesses to beat the down season. So that the loan when (now if) it comes, will meet a fertile ground and not be a seed at an unwanted time. Now we are stranded. Our personal resources have been long exhausted and the loan is not forthcoming. Our business is threatened. Many of us has gone into debts, owning suppliers and partners. Some of us are collecting loans from friends and family and other sources just to ensure that our business are afloat and doesn't crash. Loans we are hoping to repay with another loan that we don't know when or if it will come. I speak with authority as practical example under this category. It's a ridiculous, ludicrous and pathetic situation which is not an uncommon term if you are a Nigerian. But it is still sad. Very sad that the hopes and aspirations of those said to be the leaders of (that never comes) are the toilet on which the government and it's institutions continue to pass faeces.
We the awardees of YIEDP have been treated with indignity and disrespect. Our time and hopes have been wasted. The substance of motivation, courage and zeal continue to drain from every fibre of our being. We have talked, we have begged, we have asked, we have enquired, we are tired, we are dejected, we are frustrated, we are hope drained, we are heart sick. And I want the world to know this.
Nigeria has again failed it's .
It's time, in fact, past time, for the (youths) to put aside the divide of ethnicity and religion that they have cast upon us like a spell, so that we don't see that it's not Ibo Vs Hausa or Christian Vs Muslim, but we, the people Vs them. Let the youths come together and say to yesterday, " have arrived, today is and we are taking over leadership ". We can't be ruled by relics and their offspring forever.
LET THE YOUTHS AWAKE and ARISE!