The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed that N132 billion have been approved for women entrepreneurs. The CBN Branch Controller in Bauchi State, Malam Musa Muhammad, who stated this this in Bauchi on Thursday, said that the fund earmarked was part of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund.
Muhammad stated this during a sensitisation workshop for state governments, financial institutions and the organised private sector on MSMED Fund.
He explained that the amount, which represented 60 per cent of the total fund, was earmarked for women considering the peculiar challenges they facing in accessing financial services.
“The Revised Micro finance Policy, Regulatory and Supervisory Framework in section 4.2(IV), provides that women’s access to financial services should increase by 15 per cent annually in order to eliminate gender disparity.
“In order to achieve this, 60 per cent of the fund has been earmarked for providing financial services to women,” he said.
The controller said that the MSMEDF, which was launched in August 2013, had broad objective of channeling long-term, low-interest funds to the MSME sector of the economy through participating financial institutions. He said that the specific objective was to reach over two million MSMEs over a 10-year period in which 60 per cent was targeted at women entrepreneurs.
“The CBN believes that developing the MSMEs is the key to economic advancement and wealth creation.
“To ensure sustainable economic development programmes, policies and guidelines must be designed such that all factors and peculiar needs and requirements of stakeholders are noted and addressed,” he said.
He said that the sensitisation workshop had become necessary having recognised the importance of state governments as stakeholders in the administration of the fund due to their closeness to the grassroots.
Muhammad further explained that the fund covers social development with 10 per cent and commercial development with 90 per cent.
He said that all state governments including the FCT will access a maximum of N2 billion each for the maximum of three years per circle at 9 per cent interest rate.
According to him, the target groups include farmers, artisans, self help groups, cottage industries, financial cooperatives and traders.