News Column

FG Committed to Women Empowerment - Maina

July 14, 2014

Ruth Choji

The minister of women affairs and social development, Zainab Maina, has reiterated the commitment of the federal government to the economic empowerment of women in the country.

Speaking when she received the executive members of the Nigerian Quintessential Business Women and the Association of Non-bank Micro-finance Institution of Nigeria in her office recently. She said, "My dream is to see that Nigerian women become economically and politically empowered and independent, to enable them contribute more meaningfully to national development endeavours. This is because the most important independence anybody can acquire is economic independence. Once you are economically empowered, the sky is your limit."

The minister who noted that the economic well-being of women was urgently required to guarantee their full participation in governance and decision making however regretted that there were several barriers to the full optimisation of women's economic potentials, ranging from cultural to religious, traditional, and legal discrimination, among others.

On her ministry's efforts, Maina stated that the ministry has taken necessary steps to assist women to be financially independent, through a multifaceted approach to mobilise funds and resources said "We are speaking with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure the inclusion of Nigerian women in the financial system by promoting financial inclusion through their various initiatives, such as the N220bn Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) as well as their Agricultural Financing Scheme", she announced.

The minister further disclosed that in order to create access to loanable funds at the grassroots, the ministry established the Women Fund for Economic Empowerment (WOFEE), in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture, adding that over 5,000 women had benefited so far from the scheme, Business Development Fund for Women (BUDFOW) in collaboration with the Bank of Industry, to support women entrepreneurs with loans and technical support to develop their business ventures.

Earlier, the president of Nigerian Quintessential Business Women Association, Mrs Shimite Katung, had explained that with its over one million members across the country, the association has been supporting women to boost their economic enterprises, with particular focus on agricultural and solid minerals productions, packaging and marketing.

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Source: AllAfrica

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