UniAbuja sets-up micro-finance bank, lending scheme for business graduates

UniAbuja sets-up micro-finance bank, lending scheme for business graduates

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By Cyril Mbah, Abuja

The University of Abuja has established a micro-finance bank to cater for the financial needs of the university community and has also set up a revolving entrepreneurship fund for graduates of the university, who may wish to borrow money to fund their businesses after graduating from the institution.

In order to benefit from the services of the financial institutions, the university has made it mandatory that every student of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies must register and start operating one or more businesses before graduating from the University of Abuja.

Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, who made this known while addressing the 2023 Entrepreneurship Mentorship Forum of the university, stated that the activation of the financial instruments was meant to assist the university community, including students, with necessary funding whenever they were in dire need.

He also stated that the revolving entrepreneurship fund will encourage and enable graduates of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies of the university, who established businesses while in school but lacked funds to run them, to successfully activate such businesses and become employers of labour on graduation by obtaining soft loans that will be repaid with low-interest rates.

Explaining how the schemes will work in an interview with newsmen, Professor Na’Allah stated that the micro-finance bank has already concluded arrangements to commence operation although licensing by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is expected while activating the Entrepreneurship Lending Scheme which will benefit 2022/2023 graduates, will follow immediately.

“When the lending scheme takes off, there will be an agreement between the university and beneficiaries as well as their parents. The fund will be practical and will not be anything that will be free because beneficiaries will pay back at low-interest rates,” he said.

On the legacies that he hoped to leave behind after completing his tour of duty soon, Professor Na’Allah said, “we want a legacy that will re-enforce the structures of the University of Abuja. We want to leave a legacy of national unity and an institution that will be at the forefront of reshaping university education through entrepreneurship.

“We are uniquely placed to enhance national unity because our students come from all over the country and we hope to impact the future of the nation.”

The Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies of the university, Professor Abdurasaaq Na’Allah explained in an interview that the centre intends to produce graduates, who will be self-reliant, become employers of labour and people capable of contributing positively to the nation’s economy rather than graduates that will roam the streets as job-seekers and become liabilities to the nation and their parents. 

“This is part of the normal curriculum of the University of Abuja. The idea of the course is to enable the students to experience and understand what is happening in the field of an enterprise beyond classroom theories.” 

“We get people from the business world to tell the students what to expect in their own businesses before graduating and all the practical sides of doing business.”

On the two financial instruments announced by the vice chancellor, Professor Abdurasaaq said, “it is a welcome development. Money plays a vital role when we talk about business, especially when someone wants to start a business.

“Every business person requires capital and we realised that many businesses in Nigeria have not been thriving due to financial handicaps. The funds to be provided will be within the reach of our graduates, who want to start small-scale businesses because the interest rates will be very low.”

The centre engaged an entrepreneur, Emmanuel Sylva, who lectured the students on the rudiments of business, how to remain focused in growing one’s enterprise and the need for disciple as a self-employed person among other topics.

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