The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, has said that the Federal Government reserved 45 percent of the N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for women-owned enterprises in order to boost their businesses.
Katagum said this on Friday in Abuja when she chaired the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ceremony between the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum (NEF) and Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT).
The Minister, represented by the Deputy Director Industrial Development Department, John Opaluwa, said the implementation of the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund has received commendation by stakeholders across the country.
“The critical role MSMEs play in the development of the national and global economy in terms of employment generation and contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) cannot be overemphasized. It is in recognition of this that the Federal Government of Nigeria gives special attention to the growth and development of the MSME sector,” she said.
She revealed that her Ministry had started the stakeholders’ engagement on drafting of national policy on startups so as to keep pace with innovation and new wave of digital revolution of start-up ecosystem in the country.
The President NEF, Sidney Inegbedion, said the Forum entered an MoU with the OWIT to help confront the problems facing women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
“Among our areas of collaboration are joint training and capacity building for women. Research, funding for women owned enterprises as well as policy advocacy,” he said.
The President of OWIT in Nigeria, Blessing Irabor, said women in businesses have suffered less opportunity and less access to finance.
“In the Nigerian world of trade and businesses, where the gender blind deliverables in trade has strongly contributed to widening the gap of inequalities between women and men at all levels of economic empowerment, strengthening coordination on women’s participation in trade and investment is now paramount,” she said.