*Several funds exist to help women grow
Women in the country have been advised to explore many of the development funds available in the country. Many of the funds are designed to help the nation meet up with the critical support for populations that have been revealed by studies to be excluded on the economic pillars.
Two development fund experts Chief Osas Amadasun and Chinedu Zeph of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were guest speakers at a two-day seminar, organised by the Proactive Gender Initiatives and supported by the Ford Foundation, which took place at the Chelsea Hotels in Abuja.
According to Zeph, “today, 49.55% of the world population are women of he 7.4billion people in the world. 1.2billion are youths as at 2016 and the youth population is expected to hit 1.3billion in 2030. Now, 60% of the population in Africa are youths. The north eastern part of the nation suffer the highest economic exclusion.”
“Efforts have been engineered by the world to address some of these critical issues. For instance, the Beijing Conference has been able to draw attention to a need for globalisation with a human face. The Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) promote gender equality while the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pursue gender equality in social systems.
To effectively translate some of these policies into action, the CBN designed the micro, small and medium enterprises development fund. 60% of the funds are targeted at women owned businesses. As at January 2017 the sum of N72,845,971.53 has been disbursed to 62,834 males and 97,465 females.
“We also have the Youth Entrepreneurship development programme.as at 31st December 2016 the sum of N76,773,885.87 has been disbursed to 1,211 beneficiaries through Heritage Bank. N3million were distributed to young graduate NYSC members and women. It attracted only 9% interest rate with a three year repayment period.
For instance, the CBN Entrepreneurship development centres are present in every of the nation’s geo-political zones which were established to bridge the skill gap in the nation, boost the veritable empowerment tool. Over 10,000 graduates of which about 40,000 are women.
He revealed that the acute under representation of women and youths in social, political and economic sphere is a global challenge but it is more malignant in Africa where over 70% are youths below the age of 40.
Part of these realities made the CBN adopt for women in the industry to have 40% and 30% representations at the senior management and board level of commercial and discount houses respectively.
Earlier, Barrister G. S. Onu spoke on the financial and record management for non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Tax exemptions and money laundering law.
Mrs Ebere Ifendu of the Women in Politics Forum also spoke on gender concerns in the constitutional and electoral amendments.