Monday, 27 July 2015

CBN EARMARKS N252BN FOR WOMEN SME OPERATORS

Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor
If you are a woman involved in Small and Medium-scale Enterprise (SME), you have a reason to rejoice. Can Tectono Business Review tell you why? The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reserved excess of N252bn as credit to support businesses owned by women in the country. Wow!!! This will certainly deepen and increase access to credit and reduce the high cost of funds for women-owned businesses across the country. Kudos to CBN.

This development was made know by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy of CBN, Dr. Sarah Alade, when she spoke at a conference on women in management and leadership organised by the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) in Abuja. She explained that the apex bank resolved to reserve the fund after noting that lack of access to finance was negatively impacting on women participating in economic activities in the Nigeria.

Dr. Alade said: “The CBN has used dedicated SME funds to deepen and increase access to credit and reduce the high cost of funds for women-owned businesses. Some of these programmes include the N200bn Small and Medium Enterprises Credit Guarantee Scheme and the N220bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Fund, with 60 per cent earmarked for women-owned businesses. The objectives of these funds are to increase the level of access to credit by SMEs and manufacturers by providing guarantee for banks’ credit, increase output, generate employment, diversify the revenue base, increase foreign exchange earnings and provide inputs for the industrial sector on a sustainable basis.”

According to Dr. Alade, CBN had also adopted a financial inclusion strategy capable of reducing the financial exclusion of women to about 20 per cent in 2020. She noted that financial exclusion can lead to social exclusion and reduced growth.

The President, Nigerian Institute of Management, Dr. Nelson Uwaga, in his speech stated that there was an urgent need to harness and unleash the potential of women towards leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship in order to break the ceiling for them to aspire to become better achievers.

In Dr. Uwaga’s own words: “In today’s evolving business environment, every female manager or leader must be prepared to explore her leadership and innovative potential needed to take her and the organisation to the next level. She must also be ready to lead her organisation or enterprise through periods of disruptive innovation and rapid change.”