The Federal government has earmarked N1.6 billion exclusively for women to promote micro-credit programmes to boost the economic development of the country, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan, said on Tuesday.
She explained that each beneficiary would get between N10,000 and N100,000 as loan repayable in six months.
The Minister spoke during a town hall meeting with women groups on the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP)/ National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF), held at the Cinema Hall of the Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.
She said that the social initiatives of the Federal Government would help in rebuilding the nation’s economy.
Alhassan added that the loan is interest and collateral free, stressing that government is still working out a special repayment plan for beneficiaries who engaged in farming, poultry business, fish farming and other business activities.
She further said that sanctions would be employed on any defaulters or groups to ensure its sustainability.
“I am hopeful that NAWEF and GEEP programmes would be huge successes so that they can be expanded in the near future. I encourage all states of the federation to participate actively in these programmes. This will help them to promote financial inclusion and livelihood opportunities for women, especially in the oil sectors in order to reduce feminized poverty,” she added.
The wife of the former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Mrs. Bola Obasanjo stressed the need for women economic empowerment in the country, explaining that the empowerment programme is a universal basic right that must be protected.
The State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, disclosed that the social initiatives of the FG was designed to help the masses, noting that the nation would be doomed for it if micro and small scale businesses are not functioning.
Amosun said that 300 people in the 20 local government areas and the 37 local council development areas totaling 17,100 would be benefitting from the scheme.
He said that each beneficiary, which include 200 women and 100 men in the council area, would receive a soft loan of N25, 000 each with 6 per cent interest rate.