Osun: Providing Credit To Women For Development

MARKETDMarkets play critical role in economic life of Nigerians, especially for those in the rural areas. This is why the Osun State government is constructing markets across the state for the people.

The state has said the multi-million naira Ayegbaju International Market being constructed by the administration will soon be commissioned.

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, stated this while speaking at a one- day sensitisation workshop on the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for stakeholders in the state.

Aregbesola, represented by the state Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, said the state government has concluded arrangement to commission the multi-million naira Osogbo Ayegbaju International market for use of the traders.

He stated further that the government would also empower women of the state with N600 million in the next few weeks.

He maintained that the government has worked out modalities with micro finance banks to disburse the loan to the beneficiaries of the government gesture.

The governor, who urged the people, especially women, to maximise the opportunity of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s loan, described them as a major factor in the economic development of the state, promising that the state was ready to maximise the apex bank loan for development of the state and its citizenry.

Aregbesola stated that when the present administration came on board in November 2010, the gross Domestic product (GDP) of the state was $5 billion, which it has increased into over $9billion in 2013.

He flayed the critics of his administration, saying that the state is now the seventh largest economy in the federation going by the Federal Government data on GDP, adding that the opposition parties in the state lack knowledge about the economic development of the state.

He reiterated that no fewer than 200,000 people would benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s gesture in collaboration with the state government, noting that Osun State government would provide counterpart fund in order to increase the number of beneficiaries to 400,000.

He stressed that the state government would provide bank guarantee for the cooperative socities in the state that show interest to access the fund.

The branch controller of the CBN, Mr. Macduff Okorode Efetabore, while speaking, explained the reason why the apex bank initiated the fund, saying it was to develop the economic status of over two million Nigeria citizens, particularly 60 per cent of women entrepreneurs in the period of ten years.

He said that the main objective of the fund was to provide, low interest fund the to Nigerian economy through participating financial institutions.

CBN boss also stated that the management team of the bank recognised the strategic position of state governments to the Nigerian citizens at the grassroots, thereby making them important stakeholders in the administration of the fund. He added that CBN has developed operational guidelines for the state government participation in the MSME development fund.

Effetabore maintained, “The MSMED fund has two broad objectives, which are social and commercial. The social/development fund shall constitute 10 per cent, broken down as follows: grants per cent, interest drawback three per cent, managing agents’ operations cost two per cent, adding that the commercial fund shall constitute 90 per cent of the fund as follows; wholesale funding-90 per cent of the commercial component and guarantees/refinancing-10 per cent 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 per cent annually in order to eliminate gender disparity. In order to achieve this, sixty 60 per cent, which is N132.00 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 Central Bank of Nigeria’s Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs)”.