Business women to get huge chunk of CBN’s new N220 billion MSMEs Development Fund

Posted by News Express | 16 August 2013 | 6,008 times

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Sixty per cent of the N220 Billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) launched yesterday by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been set aside for businesses run and managed by women in a strategc bid to enhance the access of women entrepreneurs to finance.

This was disclosed by CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, while performing the launch of the fund aimed at providing low interest, long-term funding to MSMEs through micro-financial institutions.

The launch was one of the highlights of the opening day of the 7th Annual Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Finance Conference/Entrepreneurship Awards and the D-8 countries holding at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, capital of Nigeria.

Sanusi in the keynote address themed “Strategies for Sustainable MSME Financing” enumerated the objectives of the new Development Fund to include providing wholesale financing windows for Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) and improving the capacity of these PFIs to meet the credit needs of the MSMEs.

He said the Fund will provide funds at reduced cost and at longer tenor to PFIs compared to what they currently obtain from commercial banks, adding that it will also improve access by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) to finance.

Describing the MSMEs as a critical sector of the economy unusually excluded by the financial market, Sanusi explained that the interventions to be made through the Fund were specific in scope and time and therefore should be seen as a stimulus for addressing financing gaps and steering the market dynamics towards MSMEs’ development.

“These interventions serve to integrate micro entrepreneurs, low income earners, farmers, artisans and the active poor who operate in the informal sector into the financial system, to improve the effectiveness of public policy,” he added.

The CBN Governor, however, noted that the ultimate responsibility for sustainable intermediation for the MSME sub-sector lies with the financial markets.

Reeling out statistics, Sanusi declared that the interventions of the Federal Government and the apex Bank, particularly in the agricultural sub-sector, through the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) and the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) had impacted positively on the Nigerian economy.

According to him, the intervention had greatly helped in changing the trend from a cautious lending posture triggered by the global economic crisis in 2010 to a more flexible process. He noted that the positive impact was evidenced by the percentage increase in bank lending to the agricultural sector from 1.4 per cent in 2009 to 4 per cent as at June 2013. Similarly, he said the average capacity of utilisation of projects under the CACS had increased from 45 per cent in 2009 to 75 per cent as at June 2013.

On the D-8 workshop, Mallam Sanusi said it provides an avenue for the member-countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey and Nigeria) to share experiences, bench-marking one another and applying peer pressure in the implementation of agreed milestones. The five priority areas of the long-term cooperation among the countries are trade, agriculture and food, industry, transportation and energy and mines.

On financial inclusion, he said he and the Deputy Governors of the banks as well as Chief Executive Officers of commercial banks in Nigeria had commenced the process of personally teaching Financial Literacy to pupils and students across schools in Nigeria.

Speaking earlier, the CBN Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Alade, welcomed delegates from D-8 member countries and other guests to the event. Giving an overview of the conference, she stressed that the workshop was strategic in that it aimed to address the challenge of financing MSMEs in member countries.

In a goodwill message, on behalf of other State Governors and their representatives present at the conference, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State commended the CBN under the leadership of Sanusi, for supporting MSMEs and making concerted efforts at reducing the army of unbanked Nigerians that are financially excluded. He particularly lauded the CBN for focusing on women, emphasising that the decision to allocate 60 per cent of the new Fund to businesses run by women not only made political sense but also made enormous economic sense. Citing the example from Ekiti, he said the track record of women who take micro-credit in Ekiti is 100 per cent.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru, Secretary General of the D-8, Dr. Seyed Ali Mohammed, and President, National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Mr. Jethro Akun, also delivered goodwill messages at the conference that attracted dignitaries from Government and non-governmental organisations.

•Photo shows CBN Governor Sanusi Sanusi presenting an award to a potential future business woman . . . yesterday at the MSME Development Fund launch in Abuja.

Source: News Express

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