Bauchi - The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said that N132 billion out of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) had been earmarked for women.
The CBN Branch Controller in Bauchi State, Musa Muhammad, said this in Bauchi on Thursday during a sensitisation workshop for state governments, financial institutions and the organised private sector on MSMED Fund.
Muhammad explained that the amount, which represented 60 percent of the total fund, was earmarked for women considering the peculiar challenges women were facing in accessing financial services.
“The Revised Micro finance Policy, Regulatory and Supervisory Framework in section 4.2(IV), provides that women access to financial services should increase by 15 percent annually in order to eliminate gender disparity.
“In order to achieve this, 60 percent of the fund has been earmarked for providing financial services to women, ‘’he said.
The controller said that the MSMEDF, which was launched in August 2013, had broad objective of channeling long-term, low-interest funds to the MSME sector of the economy through participating financial institutions.
He said that the specific objective was to reach over two million MSMEs over a 10-year period in which 60 per cent was targeted at women entrepreneurs.
“The CBN believes that developing the MSMEs is the key to economic advancement and wealth creation.
“To ensure a sustainable economic development programmes, policies and guidelines must be designed such that all factors and peculiar needs and requirements of stakeholders are noted and addressed, ‘’he said.
He said that the sensitisation workshop had become necessary having recognised the importance of state governments as stakeholders in the administration of the fund due to their closeness to the grass roots.
“In view of that, the CBN has developed operational guidelines for the state government’s participating in the MSME development fund.
Muhammad further explained that the fund covers social development with 10 per cent and commercial development with 90 percent.
He said that all state governments including the FCT shall access a maximum of N2 billion each for the maximum of three years per circle at 9 percent interest rate.
According to him, the targeted groups include farmers, artisans, self-help groups, cottage industries, financial cooperatives and traders.
In a remark, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state commended the CBN for the laudable gesture, particularly with the allocation of 60 per cent of the fund to women entrepreneurs.
He said that the state government had already funded and equipped 10 micro finance banks in the state through which the fund could be accessed.
Yuguda advised that the conditions for accessing the fund should be made flexible such that the aim would be achieved.