WorldStage As part of efforts to support women entrepreneurs, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and its Business Women’s Group (NAWORG) on Monday rolled out recommendations to ease loan application processes for the women entrepreneurs in the country.
Mrs Alaba Lawson, National President, NACCIMA, announced the recommendations at the NACCIMA/NAWORG media briefing for the upcoming conference tagged “Women empowering Nigeria’’ in Lagos.
Lawson said that it was established that women entrepreneurs across the country were faced with several significant barriers to accessing finances, despite the existence of several federally-sponsored loan programmes for small businesses and women entrepreneurs.
On that basis, she recommended that the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs set aside funds for additional investment in financial literacy initiatives for women and to simplify the application process for obtaining loans.
She in addition, urged the CBN to publicly share data pertaining to women’s access to all available financial opportunities, including loans and grants.
According to Lawson, making this data public will allow women’s business organizations to analyze the data and issue periodic reports to highlight the need to increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs.
The NAWORG convener also advised the government to create a Public-Private Financial Inclusion Committee within all ministries, agencies, and departments that makes decisions on financial policies and management affecting women’s access to finance.
“The committee should review the current criteria for allowing women applicants to access loans and grants in an effort to reduce barriers for women entrepreneurs.
Lawson, in reiterating the fact that Nigerian women play an increasingly important role in generating wealth and creating jobs in the economy, said the conference served to build the momentum of advocacy activities to encourage key government officials and commercial banks in women empowerment.
“During this campaign, NAWORG will carry out financial literacy workshops in Oyo, Imo and Kano States.
“These workshops are scheduled to hold in Ibadan from April 16-17, Owerri from April 23-24, and Kano from the 2nd to 3rd May, 2019, respectively.
“The workshops will be immediately followed by a Pubic/Private Dialogue Session in Abuja, where NAWORG will present an updated policy paper and have open discussions to improve the existing loan application process.
“All of this is to ensure that women entrepreneurs can better access finance through these programmes,’’ she said.
Mrs Afolake Jimoh, Project Director, NAWORG, said that the empowerment of a woman ensures the stability of the family nucleus, and by extension, the society at large.
On that premise, she urged government to ensure the implementation of policies on ease of access to loans and finance to enable better empowerment for women.