The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday called on female entrepreneurs to explore about 13 intervention funds at CBN to improve their access to credit.
Dr Ada Momah, a Development Finance Officer at CBN, gave the advice at a seminar to celebrate International Women’s Month in Lagos.
The seminar, tagged: “Time is Now: Enhancing Rural and Urban Women’s Access to Finance,” was organised by an NGO, The Funding Space.
Momah urged women to explore such windows because they were essential to the economic development of the country.
According to her, the apex bank has earmarked 60 per cent of its N200 billion MSME fund for women, who own enterprises to empower and encourage their participation in contributing to the nation’s economic rebound.
“But many women shy away from accessing the funds because less than 10 per cent of the 60 per cent of the N220 billion earmarked for women have been tapped,” she said.
Mrs Bolaji Oluwashola of the Gender Desk Dept., Bank of Industry (BoI), said that the BoI had also earmarked N22 billion for women entrepreneurs in 2018.
Oluwashola said that to encourage women entrepreneurs, BoI had device innovative ways to ensure women had access to finance at mainly single digit interest rates.
She said that the bank would continue to enhance capacity of women with requisite skills and knowledge to drive entrepreneurship growth.
Mr Akin Oyebode, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), urged women to break the cultural and mental barriers that made them shy away from borrowing to expand their operations.
Ms Thelma Ekiyor, Chief Executive Officer, The Funding Space, said that out of Nigeria’s 40.1 million people who were financially excluded, 55.1 per cent of them were women.
According to her, there are many donor agencies, Angel investors and NGOs, that seek to empower women businesses, but only few women show interest.
“Women need to be audacious. They should put themselves to explore these opportunities to improve their lives and that of the country,” she said.
Mrs Folake Akindele, Chief Executive Officer, Tiffany Amber (a fashion designer), said that access to finance had been a constraint to many female entrepreneurs due to collateral requirements.
She urged financial institutions to consider track records of businesses and relationship built over years as bases for granting loans.
News source: today ng