LCCI charges women entrepreneurs on harnessing incentives
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( LCCI) has charged women to rise and take advantage of the special credit facilities offered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to drive entrepreneurship development in the country.
LCCI President, Mrs Nike Akande, said the charge had become imperative due to the huge demographic advantage of women in Nigeria, pointing out that women have proved to be exceptional in their performance in many leadership positions both in public and private sectors of the economy while also canvassing for the participation of more women in business and politics.
Akande made this known during the 2017 Women conference organised by the LCCI Women Group tagged “The Nigeria we want” Women Empowerment and National Development, the Nexus of policies, laws and practice.
She said the group could not have chosen a better theme, saying that Nigerian women are seeking justice, fair play, equal opportunities for everybody irrespective of gender, tribe or religion.
“We want to see a country where we get the best among us to provide leadership. We desire a leadership characterized by integrity, competence, compassion and fear of God. We desire a country where round pegs will be in round holes. The truth is that it is not the natural resource that would make the difference in our lives or guarantee the greatness of our country, it is the people, the human capital, the quality of leadership at all levels and in all spheres of our national lives that will make the difference,” she said.
She called on all women to be consistent in advocacy for affirmative action in all aspects of life while also standing against gender discrimination in all forms or shapes.
She said it is gratifying to note efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BoI) and some other financial institutions in establishing special credit facilities for women entrepreneurs to support women empowerment, therefore, urging women to arise and utilize these opportunities to promote the growth of their enterprises.
“International organizations like the International Labour Organisation (ILO), World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Women have continued to spotlight the importance of an inclusive development process where women are given equal opportunities to participate as much as their male counterparts. We can only join in this call understanding that women have a lot to contribute to the development process in Nigeria,” she added.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, First Bank Plc, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, emphasised the need for the federal government to invest heavily in women development, stating that this will aid an all-inclusive economic growth.She said Nigeria is blessed with dynamic, hardworking and active women who are poised to create value for themselves and their families, adding that there is no better time than now to empower women in the country.
“We have to teach women to be more prepared for financial institutions, businesses and how to approach banks to get access to fund their businesses. There is also the need for women to invest in assets to back up their transactions, “she advised.
She emphasised on the need for women to be financially literate, saying that this is the only way they can be competitive and attractive to get access to loans to support and grow their businesses.
The Chairman of the LCCI, Women’s Group, Agnes Shobajo, said women must stand strong and remain resilient in contributing their quota to economic growth by empowering themselves, saying that women must use their collaborative efforts to bring positive impact to the society.
She stated that for national development to be all-inclusive, women must also be active politically and lend their voices to ensure that policies and initiatives that support women empowerment are brought into focus and implemented