Federal Government (FG) has reserved 45 percent (over N33bn) of the N75 billionesrmarked for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for women-owned enterprises to boost their businesses.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, made this known in Abuja while chairing the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ceremony between the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum (NEF) and Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT).
The Minister, represented by the Deputy Director Industrial Development Department, John Opaluwa, said the implementation of the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund has been well received by stakeholders in the country.
“The critical role MSMEs play in the development of the national and global economy in terms of employment generation and contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) cannot be overemphasized. It is in recognition of this that the Federal Government of Nigeria gives special attention to the growth and development of the MSME sector,” she said.
She said her ministry had started the stakeholders’ engagement on drafting of national policy on startups so as to keep pace with innovation and new wave of digital revolution of start-up ecosystem in the country.
The President NEF, Sidney Inegbedion, said the Forum decided to enter into an MoU with the OWIT to help confront the problems facing women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
“Among our areas of collaboration are joint training and capacity building for women. Research, funding for women owned enterprises as well as policy advocacy,” he said.
The President of OWIT in Nigeria, Blessing Irabor, said women in businesses have suffered less opportunity and less access to finance.
“In the Nigerian world of trade and businesses, where the gender blind deliverables in trade has strongly contributed to widening the gap of inequalities between women and men at all levels of economic empowerment, strengthening coordination on women’s participation in trade and investment is now paramount,” she said.