Charity Simon, Abuja
Federal Government has released the sum of N1.6 billion under its social protection and investment scheme for empowerment of the Nigerian women.
Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jumai Al-Hassan, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, said the gesture was in fulfilment of the ruling party’s campaign promises on poverty alleviation in the country.
She said the initiative, which will be implemented under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), is targeted at providing micro finance loans to women from all states of the federation on liberal conditions.
“It is instructive to announce that for the first time in Nigeria, loans of this magnitude will be given to Nigerians with no collateral and interest.
“This is because the government recognises the difficulty involved in securing business loans from commercial banks”, she said.
Al-hassan noted that the funds presently domiciled at the Bank of Industry will be disbursed to successful beneficiaries from the first week of October.
She further stated that the programme will be implemented in eight pilot states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe from the North East, Nasarawa from the North Central, Jigawa from the North West, Edo from the South South, Osun from the South West and Imo from the South East.
“Each beneficiary is expected to receive the sum of N10,000 to N100,000 depending on the type of business or trade with no interest or collateral but repayable in six months.
“Beneficiaries are to form cooperative groups or local trade associations of at least 10 persons per group”, she noted.
Al-hassan also said that the objective of the GEEP programme was to boost the Nigerian economy by uplifting the economic status of the Nigerian women, especially at this time of economic recession.