Written by Sarah NEGEDU

CBN restates commitment to women empowerment

Nigeria’s apex bank has restated its commitment to reducing poverty amongst women by increasing their access to credit facilities so as to enable them participate actively in economic development of the country.

Commemorating this year’s International Women’s Day, the Central Bank of Nigeria said it would improve women’s access to formal financial services, especially credit, through its various intervention programmes.

Speaking at a workshop tagged, “Women inspiring change,” CBN’s Director, Development Finance Department, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan, said the bank would promote women’s access to finance to enable them play their expected role in economic development.

He said 60percent of the N220billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund, allocated to women-owned enterprises.

“Access to finance is often cited as one of the major factors impeding the growth of women-owned businesses in developing countries. In view of the peculiar challenges faced by women in accessing financial services in Nigeria, the CBN has established the N220billion MSMEDF, Agric Credit Guarantee Scheme, Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and financial inclusion programmes.

“These are innovative ways of improving women’s access to finance at mainly single digit interest rate, which will improve their potential for job creation and inclusive growth in our country.”

Meanwhile, the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has frowned at the current male-dominated boards of Nigerian banks and advocated for a paradigm shift to include more women on the boards and management of banks. 

He said there must be deliberate effort to have more women in management positions in the banks and other private sector positions, adding that the bank was mindful of the importance of women in society.

The Governor noted that the CBN had been championing the cause of women in the society, adding that the number of female directors in the CBN had moved from one in 2001 to six in 2017. Also, he said the percentage of women employees in the CBN had moved from 24 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2017.

Over the years, he said, the CBN had been implementing various programmes and policies aimed at developing the economic potentials and development of women.

“In realization of male domination of senior positions of the financial industry, the Bankers’ Committee adopted the quota system to increase women representation on Boards to 30 percent and that of senior management level to 40 percent by the 2014” he said.

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