Osun To Disburse N600m To Women Entrepreneurs

Osun State government is to disburse a total of N600 million to women entrepreneurs in the state.

This is coming as no fewer than 200,000 people would benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) in the state.

The state government is to add its counterpart fund of N2 billion, expected to increase the beneficiaries to 400,000.

Speaking at a day sensitisation workshop on the N220 billion MSMEDF fund organised by the Osun State branch of the CBN for stakeholders in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, Governor Rauf Aregbesola said the state government will in the next few weeks begin the disbursement of the N600 million to empower the women of the state.

The governor, who was represented by Wale Bolorunduro, commissioner for finance, at the workshop, said the government had worked out modalities with microfinance banks to disburse the loans to the beneficiaries.

The governor, who urged the people, especially women of the state to maximise the opportunity of the CBN loans, described women as a major factor in the economy development of the state.

While promising that the state was ready to maximise the apex bank loan for development of the state and its citizenry, he stated that the state government would provide its counterpart fund very soon, saying the state government would provide bank guarantee for the co-operatives in the state that show interest to access the fund.

Speaking further on the economy policy of the state government, Aregbesola stated that when the present administration came on board in November 2010, the gross domestic product (GDP) was N5 billion, which it had increased into over N9 billion in year 2013, and condemned critics of his government.

He pointed out that, according to the Federal Government data on GDP, the state was in number seven out of 36 states of the federation now, adding that the opposition parties in the state lacked knowledge about the economic development of the state.

However, as part of its economic drive, the state is to commission the multi-million naira Osogbo Ayegbaju International Market soon for usage of the traders across the state.

In his address at the workshop, Macduff Okorode Efetabore, the CBN controller in Osun State, disclosed the reason why the apex bank initiated the MSMEDF fund, saying was to develop the economy status of the over two million Nigeria citizens, particularly the 60 percent of women entrepreneurs, within the period of 10 years.

Effetabore maintained that “the MSMED fund has two broad objectives which are social and commercial. The social/development fund shall constitute 10 percent, with grants 5 percent, interest drawback 3 percent, managing agents’ operation cost 2 percent. The commercial fund shall constitute 90 percent of the fund as follows: Wholesale funding – 90 percent of the commercial component and guarantees/refinancing – 10 percent of the commercial component.

“Considering the peculiar challenges faced by women in accessing financial services in Nigeria, the revised micro-finance policy, regulatory and supervisory framework in section 4.2(1V), provides that women’s access to financial services should increase by 15 percent annually in order to eliminate gender disparity.

“In order to achieve this, 60 percent, which is N132 billion of the fund has been earmarked for providing financial services to women.

“In operating the fund, special consideration shall also be given to institutions that will provide financial services to graduates of the CBN’s Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs).”