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FG expresses readiness to support female MSMEs operators

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Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment says the Federal Government is willing and committed to supporting women-owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

The minister made this known on Thursday when a delegation of the Federation of Women Associations in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (FEDWIM) led by its National Coordinator, Mrs Anne Ugbo, paid her a courtesy visit in Abuja.

The Minister said that Nigerian women entrepreneurs, through their ingenuity have always contributed their quota to national economy and therefore needed to be encouraged for enhanced contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She reaffirms that Nigerian women formed a very important constituent of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

Katagum reiterated that women-owned businesses were allocated 45 per cent and five per cent for those with special needs in the Federal Government’s MSMEs Survival Fund Scheme to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses.

“The Federal Government clearly understands the place of women in economic development of our nation and that is why this ministry is doing everything possible to support them.

“Among other initiatives, the Federal Government has also flagged off the N50billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) on non-oil export businesses thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new jobs.

“I use this medium to encourage more women to apply and we also urge associations to mobilise and sensitise their members,” she said.

Katagum however advised the delegation of FEDWIN to formally write to the ministry, indicating areas of possible collaboration.

Earlier, Ugbo said the association was in the ministry to brief the minister about its programmes and to solicit support for its members across the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.

She however commended the minister of state for her motherly commitment to the well-being of the Nigerian women through her contributions to the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“FEDWIM is established to serve as a platform to create synergy among all women economic empowerment focused groups to provide a single mechanism for coordinated engagement with government and other stakeholders.

“This would engender effective supervision and monitoring of participation in the implementation of programmes and feedback for appropriate policy formulation and decision making on matters of economic empowerment and financial inclusion of women.

“This would fast track the development and competitiveness of the MSME sector, especially for women who are faced with challenges of poor access to affordable finance, appropriate technology and other challenges,” she said.

Ugbo said the association was currently mobilising 50,000 women across sectors and levels of operations to participate in the ongoing process of accessing the Agribusiness and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme(AGSMEIS) loan.

Joshua Olomu

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