By Olasunkanmi Onifade
Abuja – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is partnering with the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) toward improving the credit facilities for female entrepreneurs in the country.
The Head, Strategy Coordination Office, Financial Inclusion Secretariat Development, CBN’s Finance Department, Mr Attah Joseph, said this during a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the NCWD in Abuja.
Joseph said there was need to improve women’s access to finance, saying that the meeting was geared toward finding possible initiatives that could address the challenges faced by women in accessing financial services.
“Finance is very essential to growth, development and general welfare because it affects business activities and basic human needs.
“There is lingering disparity which shows that women access to funds is lower than men despite their obvious importance to nation building.
“Our 2017 survey shows that 42.3 per cent of men have accounts while only 30 per cent of women do not have accounts and access to interventions,” he said.
Joseph said countries with more bank accounts and more access to finance are better in human development, saying there is huge connection between finance and wellbeing of countries worldwide.
Responding, the Director-General, NCWD, Mrs Mary Ekpere-Eta said the centre only gets intervention from Federal Government, adding that the funds were not enough.
Ekpere-Eta, therefore, sought assistance from the CBN to enable the reactivation of various women development centres across the country.
According to her, interventions can reach more women, particularly at the grassroots, through these centres.
“Recently, we trained female artisans and gave them start up funds, we need to supervise them but funds are always not enough.
“So, we accommodate them here for a period of time and then, we are trying to get trademark for them and help them create market.
“We will like you to buy into the reactivation of women development centers across the federation to enable women at the grassroots have access to funds,” she said.
Ekpere-Eta acknowledged that NCWD had a major role to play in order for the Federal Government to achieve its goal of facilitating the emergence of more female proprietors of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME).
She also appealed for the support of the apex bank in the area of the providing female entrepreneurs with funds to brand and market their products and services.
Ekpere-Eta said data collated by the centre as part of its basic functions was reliable and can be used by CBN and Development Financial Institutions to implement interventions targeted at intending and existing female entrepreneurs.