ABUJA – The Federal Government has pledged its commitment to supporting the operations of women-owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, even as it has advised them to apply for MSMEs Survival Fund Scheme.
Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, made this commitment when a delegation of the Federation of Women Associations in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (FEDWIM) led by its National Coordinator, Mrs. Anne Ugbo, paid her a courtesy visit in Abuja.
A statement on Friday by Mrs. Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, Assistant Director, Information in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment quoted the minister to have said that Nigerian women entrepreneurs, through their ingenuity have always contributed their quota to national economy and therefore needed to be encouraged for enhanced contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Katagum reaffirmed that Nigerian women formed a very important constituent of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.Katagum reaffirmed that Nigerian women formed a very important constituent of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
She reiterated that women-owned businesses were allocated 45 per cent and five per cent for those with special needs in the Federal Government’s MSMEs Survival Fund Scheme to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses.
According to the Minister, “The Federal Government clearly understands the place of women in economic development of our nation and that is why this Ministry is doing everything possible to support them.
Among other initiatives, the Federal Government has also flagged off is the N50billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) on non-oil export businesses thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new jobs.
“I use this medium to encourage more women to apply and we also urge associations to mobilise and sensitise their members,” she said.
Katagum commended the association for the achievements recorded so far and advised the delegation of FEDWIN to formally write to the Ministry, indicating areas of collaboration.
Earlier in her address, the National Coordinator, Federation of Women Associations in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (FEDWIM) Mrs. Anne Ugbo said the association was in the ministry to brief the Minister about its programmes and to solicit support for its members across the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
She commended the Minister of State for her motherly commitment to the well-being of the Nigerian women through her contributions to the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
She stated that “FEDWIM is established to serve as a platform to create synergy among all women economic empowerment focused groups to provide a single mechanism for coordinated engagement with government and other stakeholders.
“This would engender effective supervision and monitoring of participation in the implementation of programmes and feedback for appropriate policy formulation and decision making on matters of economic empowerment and financial inclusion of women.
“This would fast track the development and competitiveness of the MSME sector, especially for women who are faced with challenges of poor access to affordable finance, appropriate technology and other challenges”.
The National Coordinator said the association was currently mobilising 50,000 women across sectors and levels of operations to participate in the ongoing process of accessing the Agribusiness and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) loan.