The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday said that 60 per cent or N132 billion of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) had been earmarked for women.
The Gombe Branch Controller of the CBN, Mr Ishaku Jatau, disclosed this at a sensitisation workshop in Gombe. As Jatau explained, the objective of the programme was to reach out to more than two million operators of MSMEs.
"The revised microfinance policy, regulatory and supervisory framework provides that the women access to financial services should increase by 15 per cent annually in order to eliminate gender disparity.
"In order to achieve this, N132 billion, or 60 per cent of the fund, has been earmarked for providing financial services to women," he said.
The CBN launched the MSMEDF on August 15, 2013 with a take-off seed capital of N220 billion to address the peculiar challenges faced by women in accessing financial services.
Mrs Huraira Sabo, CBN Deputy Director (Development Finance), said that the sensitisation workshop was to expose stakeholders to modalities of accessing the funds. "We want them to look at the guidelines and see where it affected them to try as much as possible to access this fund when it is ready after the sensitisation," he said.
Mrs Loius Juma, a Principal Manager at CBN, also said that the benefits of the programme were to create job opportunities, women empowerment, capacity building, provision of cheap wholesale funds and grass-root economic development, among others.
She said that the intervention of the CBN was also targeted at grassroot economic development and wealth creation.