Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Federal Government reiterates commitment to women economic empowerment.

ABUJA (Women Affairs Ministry Report) - The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Zainab Maina has reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Government to the economic empowerment of women in the country.
Speaking when she received the executive members of the Nigerian Quintessential Business Women and the Association of Non-Bank Micro-finance Institutions of Nigeria in her office, the Minister noted that the economic well-being of women is urgently required to guarantee their full participation in governance and decision making.
According to her, the dream is to see that Nigerian women become economically and politically empowered and independent to enable them contribute more meaningfully to national development endeavors. She explained that this was because the most important independence anybody can acquire is economic independence, saying once one is economically empowered, the sky becomes the limit.
She hinted that there are several barriers to the full optimization of women’s economic potentials ranging from cultural to religious, traditional and legal discrimination, among others. She added that the Ministry has taken necessary steps to assist women to become financially independent through a multifaceted approach to the mobilization of funds and resources. 
“We are speaking with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure the inclusion of Nigerian women in the financial system by promoting financial inclusion through initiatives such as the N220bn Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) as well as the Agricultural  Financing Scheme,” she announced.
The Minister further disclosed that in order to create access to loan-able funds at the grassroots, the Ministry did established the Women Fund for Economic Empowerment (WOFEE) in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture; adding that over 5,000 women have benefited so far from the scheme. She revealed that the Business Development Fund for Women (BUDFOW) was established by the Ministry in collaboration with the Bank of Industry to support women entrepreneurs with loans and technical support towards developing their business ventures.
Zainab Maina intensified that the Ministry expects more support and initiatives from women groups, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations, Development Partners and other stakeholders to encourage access by its target groups to financial services and development.
Earlier in a remark,  the President of Nigerian Quintessential Business Women Association, Shimite Katung explained that with its over one million members across the country, the association has been supporting women to boost their economic enterprises with particular focus on agricultural and solid minerals productions, packaging and marketing.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Non-Bank Micro-finance Institution of Nigeria, Godbless Safugha assured the Minister of their commitment to creating a network of financial institutions that would provide quality and affordable micro-finance services, especially to women at the grassroots.

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