Here is a need to increase funding to women-owned enterprises, Bank of Industry (BoI) has said.
Its Group Head, Gender Business Department, Adebisi Ajayi, said fund disbursement to firms owned by women constituted three per cent of its lendings.
Ajayi, who spoke at a BoI?s event to honour women, said only 49 per cent of women entrepreneurs accessed finance from banks, adding that the N13 billion earmarked for women enterprises should be reviewed upward.
According to her, women have migrated from seeking micro credit business support to focusing on large-scale enterprises with huge capital requirement.
Ajayi urged banks to support BoI in financing the real sector, and not just traders, to facilitate job creation and develop the economy.
She said the department had increased its capital base from N90 million to N160 million, ensure increase in its risk asset to women and maintain a single digit interest rate.
?In 2007, gender financing commenced with N90 million. It generated 51 businesses in seven sectors and created 600 jobs. Cumulatively, that seed money is now about N160 million. These were to micro credit businesses. The BoI realised we cannot stay with micro credits because there are women who have the capacity to do big business. In 2015, a gender enhancement desk was set up to focus on only women big businesses. This has led to the bank?s risk assets increase in women. The N13billion supported 232 women business.?
BoI Acting Managing Director Waheed Olagunju, represented by the Executive Director, Micro Enterprises, Toyin Adeniji, urged women to be brace for change by achieving business strides and setting the pace with new ideas.
?We want it to be a day to encourage other women to start as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) entrepreneurs to access bigger loans. One thing that is clear is that, women have to be bold, have a dream and know where they are going. We are here to let them know they can grow as there is access to finance, market, training, growth and opportunities. Women have to be bold and lean forward for change.?
The bank?s Divisional Head, Large Enterprises, Mr Joseph Babatunde, harped on the need for increased women participation in businesses, saying the bank was committed to easing their access to finance.
?There is a need for women to come out with all the creativity that is in them not only to add value to the family, but also to the nation. That?s why the bank has a gender department where women can bring their applications. There are about four women in the department who advise women entrepreneurs, monitor and go out to support them. We have given a lot of loans to women related entrepreneurs. Unlike, we can give loans of N5million upwards without necessarily having collateral; just two guarantors so that you can at least start small and become big.?
Making a case for financing the healthcare sector, Chief Executive Officer, Pathcare Laboratories, Pamela Ajayi, urged BoI to channel funds to boost the sector, noting that it is a viable investment sector.
?The healthcare sector in Nigeria really requires a lot of funding as there is a huge need for infrastructural development. The finance industry needs to recognise the health sector and give it priority. Intervention fund and all that is necessary should be put in place. In terms of investment, healthcare is a vibrant area that can rake in returns. It?s just about recognition,? she said.