FG restates commitment to women empowerment
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has said the Federal Government is committed to increasing opportunities and financial support for women towards enhancing Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
Tallen said this during a courtesy call to the Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Olukayode Pitan, yesterday, in Lagos.
The minister noted that access to finance is one of the gender-based issues affecting women in the country, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari is passionate about resolving the issue to ensure an inclusive and sustainable society.
Tallen emphasised that women’s role in society could not be overemphasised, saying they should be adequately supported in their various endeavours to promote strong family ties, mental wellbeing, financial inclusion and economic growth.
“Empowering a woman is empowering the family; empowering the family is empowering the society, empowering the society is empowering the entire country.
“We are here to solicit for more financial support for women. The year is ending, I pray that we start the New Year with a sound footing and good packages for our women so that our country can change for the better,” she said.
She said research had shown that women were better entrepreneurs, fund manager and also uphold prompt repayment plans for loans, saying that increasing access to finance to them would have a multiplier impact on society.
Responding, Pitan assured that BoI through its Gender Desk had financially supported many women projects and coordinated capacity building programmes for women across the country.
He said the Desk intervenes in the real sector of the economy ranging from food and agro processing; health and petrochemical, solid mineral, to creative industry, oil and gas, renewable energy, among others.
Pitan noted that challenges for the larger section of women entrepreneurs lie in crossing the threshold of overcoming barriers, discovering their potential and identity.
To resolve some of the identified challenges, he said the bank intervened through assisting in bookkeeping, accounting, and business plan package and acceptance of insurance credit bonds.
He also said BoI increased its sensitisation on its Gender products, introduced external guarantors for loans below N10 million, and strengthened collaboration with commercial banks to reach more women.
According to him, the bank has series of funding targeted at supporting women businesses at single digit interest rates.
He said BoI recently partnered with the African Development Bank (AfDB), on the implementation of Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA).
Pitan said AFAWA was expected to unlock $3 billion in private sector financing to empower female entrepreneurs through capacity building development, access to finance, policy, legal and regulatory reforms to support women led enterprises.
He said BoI also partnered with Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to implement Business Resilience Assistance for Value-Adding Enterprises for Women (BRAVE)
According to him, the initiative is to assist SMEs and other private sector enterprises operating in Nigeria cope with concerns around the political and security crises in the country.
Pitan added that the bank was also playing a key role to support the proposed first female-owned bank in Nigeria, that has a mandate to support women businesses.
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