BOI SEEKS ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR GENDER SENSITIVE PROGRAMMES
http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/blog/?attachment_id=122340 The Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BOI), Ms Evelyn Oputu, has said that there was need for adequate funding for gender sensitive programmes as women empowerment was very vital for any meaningful economic development of any nation.
Oputu made this statement in Abuja at a private sector interactive session with the Under Secretary- General and Executive Director,UN Women, Madam Mitchelle Batchelet, with the theme: 'Financing Women Empowerment and Gender Equality.'
While arguing that gender equality was not only a human right, Oputu said that it was also about economics; about using 50 per cent of Nigeria's human resources to their full potential, adding that it was wrong to handicap women based on gender.
She said critical issues in achieving gender equality in the workplace like financial inclusion, access to capital and integration into value chains and new markets must be looked into, while also emphasising that there was need to make women empowerment more prominent in the rural areas where the majority of them are domiciled.
She said that countries that invest in promoting the social and economic status of women tend to have lower poverty rates.
According to her, the efficient operation of increasingly knowledge-based economy was not only a function of adequate levels of available finance, a reasonably open trade regime for goods and services, but, more and more, was also dependent on the ability to tap into a society's reservoir of talents and skills.
The BOI boss disclosed that she made gender equality a subject of interest when she assumed office in 2005, at that time she said, women empowerment and finance were not given adequate attention.
Under her leadership, she continued, BOI took a paradigm shift on women empowerment by introducing a policy that 85 per cent of its fund would be channelled to the development of the SMEs as most banks in the country were not lending or granting loans to the women for reasons best known to them. Moreso, the SME sector was a major area where women were visible.