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Anambra: CBN Sensitizes Anambrarians On 220 Billion Naira Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises Development Fund

By Okechukwu Onuegbu
Anambra state Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Nnamdi Mekoh
Anambra state Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Nnamdi Mekoh
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Women entrepreneurs in Anambra state are the major beneficiaries of 220 Billion naira loans, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, doled-out as a take-off seed capital last year, when it officially launched Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).

Acting CBN Governor,Godwin Emefiele disclosed this today, in a-one day sensitization workshop, held at Awka, the state capital, stressing that objective of the fund is to provide medium to long-term, low-interest funds to the MSME sub-sector of Nigerian economy to be channeled through Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) with a view to reaching out over 2.0 million MSMEs for period of ten years.

Represented by Director, Development Finance Department of CBN, Sir Paul Iloghawa, the CBN boss explained that 60% of the funds is targeted at women entrepreneurs who he described as engine blocks for speedy economic growth, wealth creation and national development, while the remaining forty percent is for others.

Also speaking, Anambra state Branch Controller of CBN, Mr. Onyewuchi Ihekweazu, noted that little delays in launching the exercise in the state was triggered off by recent change in government, even as he explained that the funds was in recognition of the role states governments play in driving economic activities where the majority of end users of the funds reside.

According to Mr. Ihekweazu, CBN has mapped-out a window in the guidelines for all states to access the funds, which is of two components namely; social and commercial; and would monitor its usage to sanction anyone who might likely divert or abuse it.

“Considering the peculiar challenges faced by women in accessing financial services in Nigeria, Section 4.2 (iv) of the revised Microfinance Policy, Regulatory and Supervisory Framework, provides that women's access to financial services should increase by 15 percent annually in order to promote gender equality and empower women…that is why 60% (approximately N132.00 billion) of the funds has been earmarked for providing financial services to women”, he said, adding that its operationalization accords social consideration to institutions that provide financial services to graduates of CBN Entrepreneurs Development Centers (EDCs.

In a paper entitled “The Thrust, Benefits and Eligibility Requirements for the N2220 Billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund”, Mr. Chinedu Zeph, emphasized that the beneficiaries include grass-root farmers, petty-traders, enterprises, local investors among others with aims of creating jobs for teeming populace, women economic empowerment, capacity building for stakeholders, and to provide cheap wholesale funds, engender grassroot economic development and promote and deepen access to finance.

In a remark, Governor Willie Obiano, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Nnamdi Mekoh, re-affirmed that CBN has contributed a lot to development of the state especially in agriculture, and advised farmers and other benefitting individuals to endearvour to utilize the loans religiously as more would be given to them in nearest future.

Contributing, some participants, Governor Willie Obiano's Special Assistant on Fisheries, Mr. Emeka Iloghalu; Mr. Dominic Ajibo of Onitsha Chamber of Commerce and Hon. Bridget Obi, reiterated the needs for information dissemination, segmentation, proper training and retraining of benefitting individuals through existing communal financial institutions and other available means so as to effectively achieve its objectives efficiently, as well as to ensure its return as at when due.