The awardees of the third edition of the YouWin programme have threatened to sack 4,500 workers if government fails to meet up with its financial obligation.
The umbrella body, representing the third edition of YouWin3 awardees, made this threat following the nine months delay by the Federal Government to pay the grants of between N1million and N10million, which they won.
In a statement by the affected firms on Friday, the awardees under the third edition of the programme expressed worries that their businesses were suffering untoward effects of delayed payment.
The group of awardees lamented that many of them resigned paid employment to completely go into business after winning the grants, adding that: “The Federal Ministry of Finance has delayed the payment of the remaining second and third tranches of the grants to deserving awardees for the past nine months.
“YouWin3 Awardees have made series of representation to the Minister of Finance and the Permanent Secretary through series of letters to her office on the matter, which has not yielded fruits.”
According to the awards, “The Federal Ministry of Finance claims that payments to awardees are being frustrated due to delay by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in respect to releasing the funds for awardees already captured in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) for disbursement.
“The Secretariat and Federal Ministry of Finance have approved awardees for payments of the remaining second and third tranches having met the job creation milestones, but all efforts to get the business grants in full as agreed with the Ministry have not been fruitful despite starting the business and creating over 4,500 jobs in the third edition.”
The statement further noted that the failure or inability of government to fulfill its mandate as agreed has hampered many of the businesses from growing.
“We call on the World Bank and the Department for International Development (DFID) who are partners and funders of the YouWin programme to urgently intervene in this matter and save our businesses from collapsing.
“We call on the organised private sector and the civil society organisation to urgently intervene to save our future and protect jobs in the local economy by prevailing on government to act to save our businesses,” the group said.
The awardees said the Federal Government must act within 14 days, threatening: “We may have no choice but to call all 1,500 YouWin third edition awardees and Nigerian youths for a public protest during which we shall occupy the Federal Ministry of Finance and embark on hunger strike until we get results.”
It may be recalled the Federal Character Commission had on Thursday hinted of plans to investigate past activities of the YouWin, especially its finances.
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