Business CBN Earmarks N132 Billion To Support Women In SMEs

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has earmarked a sum of N132 billion for providing credit to women-owned businesses as a financial backing to one of the most vulnerable segments of the society.

This disclosure was made by the CBN Director of Corporate Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Mu'azu at the 2015 Annual Conference organised by the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Lagos at the weekend.

He said the fund is part of the N220 billion Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development fund instituted by the regulator as part of its commitment to providing improved financing opportunities for small businesses.

Mu'azu said poor access to credit remains one of the biggest limitations faced by small businesses and has to be tackled by stakeholders in the financial services sector.

He added that the objective of the fund is to unlock the potential of small businesses through credit support and taking such enterprises to positions where they would be able to to create jobs and reduce poverty among the citizenry.

He said CBN has created a huge channel by which MSMEs operators can access the fund. These channels include; banks, microfinance banks and state government.

Responding to this development, president of the Association of Small Business Owners (ASBON) Dr Femi Egbesola said the criteria for accessing the loans are unrealistic and are beyond the reach of small business owners.

He said the commercial banks authorized by the CBN to disburse the funds do not see the SME operators as serious people that need such funds. He, therefore, advised the CBN and commercial banks to rethink their SME's funding strategy as ease of access to credit by SMEs operators will add to the economy.


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