The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is partnering with the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) toward improving credit facilities for female entrepreneurs in the country, according to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report Friday.
Attah Joseph, head strategy coordination office, financial inclusion secretariat development, at the finance department of the CBN said this during a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the NCWD in Abuja.
Joseph at the meeting, which was geared toward finding possible initiatives that could address the challenges faced by women in accessing financial services, said there was a need to improve women’s access to finance.
“Finance is very essential to growth, development and general welfare because it affects business activities and basic human needs,” Joseph explained, adding that there is a lingering disparity between men and women in terms of access to finance. He said women access to funds is lower than men despite their obvious importance to nation building.
“Our 2017 survey shows that 42.3 percent of men have accounts while only 30 percent of women have accounts and access to interventions,” he said.
He explained that countries with more bank accounts and more access to finance are better in human development, as there is a huge connection between finance and wellbeing of countries worldwide.
Mary Ekpere-Eta, the director-general, NCWD, in her response said the centre only gets intervention from the federal government, and that the funds were not enough.
She, 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 a trademark for them and help them create a market.
“We will like you to buy into the reactivation of women development centres across the federation to enable women at the grassroots to 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.