*Releases N11 Billion To Third Edition Beneficiaries
By Clement Nwoji, Abuja
The Federal Government has eventually bowed to the agitations and protests by the beneficiaries of the third edition of the YouWiN programme with the disbursement of N10, 995, 391, 260 billion to the beneficiaries within the time frame of 2015 and January, 2018.
YouWiN programme is an initiative of Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and was coordinated by the then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister For the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, meant to create self employment and boost enterprising skills with soft loans.
But on assumption of office in May, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the programme and release of funds to the beneficiaries. This culminated into protracted protests and agitations by the beneficiaries nationwide until recently when the Federal Government yielded to the genuine demands.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed the released funds, which she particularly noted that N8, 396, 905,038 billion of it was disbursed by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
 In a statement, the Director of information, Ministry of Finance, Salisu Na’Inna Dambatta, said Adeosun disclosed this while releasing the last payment of N125, 640, 000 for disbursement to the final 61 beneficiaries of the third edition of the programme.  
 She said: “By January 2018, the total amount disbursed to beneficiaries of the third edition of the YouWiN! programme will be N11, 121, 031, 260 billion, of which the current administration has disbursed N8, 522, 545,038 billion.” 
She explained that the amount was disbursed to 1, 500 beneficiaries who have started or expanded their business across a variety of sectors, including Information and Communication Technology (ICT), manufacturing, services and agricultural production and processing.
The third edition beneficiaries also include those  engaged in fashion and  entertainment, while various technical support were extended to over 18, 000 beneficiaries in the areas of access to markets and finance as well as capacity building in business management, accounting and operations. 
According to the statement, “On assuming office, the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, reviewed and restructured the YouWiN! programme to ‘YouWiN! Connect’ and gave it a new focus for sustainability. YouWiN! Connect is currently providing online capacity building to more than 61, 000 beneficiaries across the country. 
“The next stage of the YouWiN! Connect Programme will involve sector specific in-class training to successful beneficiaries and the development of franchise infrastructure.”