The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Dame, Paulen Tallen has expressed the determination of the present administration collaborate with Development banks provide soft loans to women promote their entrepreneurial skills in the country.
She made the called at a Women National Business Agenda policy dialogue in Abuja.
The Minister explained that the present administration was already implementing women empowerment programmes that would promote the financial capacity of women at the grassroots.
“The assumptions that women are less inclined than men to turn to financial institutions to grow their businesses led the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and other development partners operating in the country to develop supportive environments for women led business to surmount such challenges through the setting up or strengthening of existing women entrepreneurs associations in different sectors. Some of these laudable interventions include the Women’s Fund for Economic
Empowerment (WNOFEE) implemented in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BoA), the Business Fund for Women (BODFOW) incollaboration with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to provide soft loans for female entrepreneurs. The National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF) and the Government Enterprise and Economic Empowerment Programme (GEEP) are targeted at supporting grassroots women operating informal businesses by providing soft loan to scale-up their businesses.” She explained.
The minister said Women are estimated to own only twenty percent of enterprises in the formal sector and hold only eleven point seven percent as Board of Directors in the country, which is responsible for their poor economic output in the country.
Dame Paulen Tallen said many women cannot excel in farming business because of cultural issues and explained that the existence of women groups would promote their economic values in the society.
“Women also constitute majority of farmers, but they own less than
20% of the farm land due to cultural issues. As more women ascend the corporate ladder, more women entrepreneur associations have emerged in the country to challenge and address some of the barriers they encounter in financing their businesses. The existence of these groups have helped to shape advocacy and sensitization for supporting women entrepreneurship as important to women’s success.’’ She explained.
The Minister of Transportation Mr. Rotimi Ameachi described the role of women in promoting the socio-economic development as inevitable and urged women to always fight for their rights at all times.
“Always ask for your right at all circumstances; don’t be afraid to go into politics because some times their meetings end at night. Women are very intelligent that is why we have them in strategic positions even at the United Nations. Every woman that is in any position today merited it” He said
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamilla who was represented at the event by the Deputy Chairman House Committee on FCT, Mrs. Blessing Onuh said women are the bedrock of any political development and pledged to continue making laws that would support the participation of women in governance.
“ The role of women in nation building is very important in any democratic society. As a parliament, the ninth assembly would continue to support women to advance to various leadership positions in the country.
The event with the theme “women in leadership and economic equity” was attended by women across the six geo-political zones.