By Chinedu James
Government apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it would further expand the window for women to access formal financial services as a way to close the gender gaps.
About 60% of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) is allocated to women-based enterprises. This is one of the intervention initiatives of the bank dedicated to empowering women financially.
This was revealed this week in Abuja at the CBN 2018 International Women’s Day workshop tagged “Women Inspiring Change.” The Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan, represented by Mrs. Hadiza Maina, Senior Development Finance Officer said that improving access to finance for women will on the long run enable them play their expected role in the economic development of the country.
“Access to finance is often cited as one of the major factors impeding the growth of women-owned businesses in developing countries. In view of the peculiar challenges faced by women in accessing financial services in Nigeria, CBN has established the N220 MSMEDF, Agric Credit Guarantees scheme, Anchor Borrowers Programme and financial inclusion programmes.” Said Olaitan.
“These are innovative ways of improving women’s access to finance at mainly single digit interest rate, which will improve their potential for job creation and inclusive growth on our country,” he added.
Similarly, Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Sustainable Banking, Dr. Aisha Mahmood reemphasized that women are critical to the economic development of the country.
“It has been proven that women have immense potential as engine of growth and economic development. Empowering women becomes beneficial to the society at large,” Said Mahmood.