Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Women To Get 60% Of N220bn Microcredit Fund

Governor of Central Bank, Lamido Sanusi

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has assured that 60 per cent of the N220 billion the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) to be launched before the end of this year, would be used to provide long term funding at single digit interest rate to businesses owned and managed by women.

This is as Nigeria would need to tackle the problems reducing the high cost associated with accessing financing in the country in order to make appreciable progress in achieving the goals of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy launched by President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday.

The United Nations Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Princess Maxima of Netherlands, described the challenges facing the achievement of financial inclusion in the country as enormous, emphasising the need for all stakeholders to collaborate to ensure the success of the strategy.

Speaking during an interactive session with Journalists in Abuja, yesterday, Princess Maxima listed some of the key challenges of the financial inclusion strategy to include reducing the cost of financing, which means having better access to finance by microfinance institutions; setting up a collateral registry for mobile phone access, that would actually improve access to finance for small and medium scale enterprises; as well as unifying or at least having a common credit bureau that would lower the cost of checking the credit history of the potential people asking for loans borrowers.

She also identified the issue of Identification as a major challenge that is capable hindering the financially excluded people from opening accounts.

Also, the issues of interoperability among the difference mobile telecom operators as seen as a key challenge that also requires urgent attention to fast -track the use of mobile banking services.

These, she said, are technical issues mixed with regulation and requiring urgent attention to ensure that all the regulation that would drive the process has the right incentive for the right player and the right stakeholder to really push service providers to provide the best level of services that would grow that market.

The CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido who also spoke during the session with journalists, said the N220 billion MSME Fund was currently at the stage where all stakeholders are looking at it and giving their own inputs into the structure.

“The fund that we were supposed to launch yesterday , which we hope to launch hopefully before the end of the year, specifically provides for about 60 per cent of the amount to be targeted at businesses owned and managed by women, and the objective is to help them get long term funding at single digit interest rate so there is specific incentives there for the women.”

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