Determined to further support women’s productive initiatives in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) today promised to improve access to financial services for women, especially credit through its various intervention programmes.
Making the pledge at the CBN 2018 International Women’s Day workshop tagged “Women Inspiring Change”, the apex bank’s Director, Development Finance Department, Dr Mudashiru Olaitan, said the move to enhance funding support for women was informed by the critical role women are playing in development.
Represented by the bank’s Senior Development Finance Officer, Mrs. Hadiza Maina, pointed out that said promoting gender equality in finance implied that at least 50 per cent of the population would be empowered for economic development.
While recalling that the apex bank has continued to offer financial support to operators in all sectors of the economy, he explained that under the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), 60 per cent of the fund was provided to women-based enterprises.
He explained: “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.
“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,” Olaitan added.
He restated the apex bank’s commitment to growing the real sector and diversifying the revenue base through these schemes, initiatives and programmes.
In her remarks, the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Sustainable Banking, Dr Aisha Mahmood, said that “it has been proven that women have immense potential as engine of growth and economic development.”