The Bank of Industry has said its loan exposure to enterprises owned and promoted by women has hit N13bn, noting that plans are underway to improve access of related businesses to developmental financing.
It said this in a statement, adding that this was in furtherance of efforts to support the diversification programme of the Federal Government and create employment through empowerment of women entrepreneurs
The statement quoted the Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, as saying this at an event tagged ‘Be bold for change’, to commemorate the 2017 International Women’s Day.
He said that there was a need for women-owned businesses to take bold decisions in driving growth as well as social and economic change.
Olagunju, who spoke through the Executive Director, Micro-Enterprises, BoI, Mrs. Toyin Adeniji, stated that though portfolio lending to women had doubled, denoting that women were doing a lot economically, there was a lot more to be done in improving women’s access to finance.
He said, “Women are playing a vital and key role in the economy. Women should be involved in policies and decision making in a world where they struggle to be seen and respected. Thirty per cent of registered businesses are led by women, a reflection of the fact that women are economic forces and drivers of social and economic change.”
One of the beneficiaries and Chief Executive Officer of SecureID Limited, Mrs. Kofo Akinkungbe, was quoted as saying that her firm had started a backward integration agenda to increase sourcing of raw materials locally.
Another woman entrepreneur and the Chief Executive Officer of ReelFruit, Affiong Williams, explained that the depreciating value of the naira had further promoted export among operators.
Similarly, the CEO of PathCare Laboratories, Dr. Pamela Ajayi, was quoted as saying that there was a need for government to prioritise the health and educational sectors for financing, considering the impact of the sectors on the nation’s well-being, adding that the lingering recession had further made businesses to renegotiate terms of trade and explore cheaper ways of doing business.
The Divisional Head, Large Enterprises, BoI, Joseph Babatunde, was said to have urged successful women entrepreneurs to promote mentorship as part of measures to improve the growth of women-owned businesses, while emphasising the need to encourage value-addition by many enterprises.