Stakeholders that gathered at a workshop organised by the development Research and projects Centre (dRPC), under the Partnership For Advancing Women Economic Development (PAWED) in Lagos, have stressed the need for government to make the National Collateral Registry (NCR) more functional to enable women to have more access to funds and loans for business expansion.
Besides, they urged the government at all levels to identify credible associations and ensure that intervention funds targeted at women in business are disbursed through these associations to achieve the required result.
Specifically, the Chairman of Export Group, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Bosun Solarin stressed the need for government to make the National Collateral Registry (NCR) more functional to enable women to have more access to funds and loans.
Solarin pointed out that most of the intervention funds created by the Federal Government to support women in business do not get to the appropriate segment of women due to collateral issues.
A collateral registry is a record of legal claims to personal property used as collateral for a loan. Collateral registries help to break down barriers to lending, especially for women and younger entrepreneurs who often do not have credit histories.
According to her, a functional collateral registry in Nigeria would enable women who do not have landed properties to make use of other properties in their possessions such as jewelry, gold, cars to obtain loans.
“Most of these businesswomen have issues of collaterals, there has been so much talk on the collateral registry for many years now, that registry has not been functional. We need to make it functional so that women who do not have landed properties can register other belongings and use them to get loans. We need to make the collateral registry work.”
Solarin argued that though Nigerian women account for 41 per cent ownership of micro-businesses in Nigeria with over 23 million female entrepreneurs, making Nigeria among the highest entrepreneurs globally, there is insufficient real economic empowerment and inclusion for them.
She commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Ministry of Industries and other MDAs working hard to include women in the economic programmes, assuring that women will continue to explore available opportunities to contribute to the nation’s economic growth.
National President, Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs, Vera Ndanusa lamented that intervention funds created to empower women in business are accessed by women politicians that do not have an appetite for business and investment.
“The federal government need to identify the credible association to disburse these funds through the. If they use these associations, they will be able to identify the woman that needs these funds so that it can get to people that deserve it, people that are really into business.”
She pointed out that the amount of money the federal government had disbursed to support women in business should have been able to bring a substantial number of women out of poverty if the right channel for disbursement is followed.
The Executive Director, dRPC, Dr Judith-Ann Walker, represented by the Director Projects, Dr Stanley Ukpai, said despite the significant contribution of women in the nation’s economy, they still constitute a meagre percentage in the nation’s economic plan.
Ukpai said the training was organised and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide skills on techniques, and strategies needed to advocate for improved inclusion of women in Nigeria.
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