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BoI, Ogun partner on women empowerment scheme

By The Citizen
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As part of its strategies to address local capacity utilisation and empower women and youths in the country, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has unfolded plans to partner with the Ogun State government to build an agricultural packaging and processing plant.

Managing Director of BoI, Evelyn Oputu, who disclosed this during a visit by First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs Olufunsho Amosun to the bank's corporate office in Lagos, recently, explained that the move was in line with the bank's empowerment programme that will address the “bottom pyramid of the society,” especially those relating to the feminine gender.

Oputu, while affirming the bank's commitment to support the Ogun State first lady in her ambition to build an agricultural packaging and processing plant, explained that women empowerment is vital to economic development, even as the paradigm shift on such empowerment was introduced to take care of women.

To achieve this, the bank, she said, introduced a policy to ensure that 85 per cent of its fund is geared towards developing SMEs, while it introduced SMEs desk in order to facilitate their access to loan in key areas where they demand such loans.

Oputu, who noted that women had the tendency to get to the higher level when given the opportunity, stressed the need to make women empowerment prominent in the rural areas where majority of women still live in poverty.

She said that gender issue is very important and has been taken to the forefront since she assumed office, noting that before then, women empowerment and finance had always been relegated to the background.

'We are open to support and help and will do so. What we now need is a formal proposal from you. We would like a situation where women and youths are empowered with modern farm equipments even as we are looking for more women who want to develop the natural resoures of this country' Oputu stated.

Amosun revealed that her foundation had begun moves towards building an agricultural packaging and processing plant to empower women and youth.

She disclosed that the foundation had approached foreign investor for support, and explained that her foundation intends to develop about 500 acres of land for the planting of tomatoes crops, and processing of about 5000 tonnes of the finished product daily.

She said the empowerment programme was part of her initiative to complement the state government’s effort on employment generation and capacity building through series of retail training to support the five-point agenda of the state government in uplifting people with special needs.

“When women are empowered and supported, the society stands better chances to benefit. This directly leads to stronger economic base for families and give them opportunities to remain healthier', she added.