ABUJA (Women Affairs’ Report)- The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan has revealed that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the General Enterprises and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) which is among the Five-Pronged Social Investment Programmes of the administration.
Senator Aisha disclosed this recently at the meeting with State Commissioner of Women Affairs, on the implementation of the National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF), at the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Abuja.
According to her, the programme which has the sum of one billion six hundred million naira (N1.6 Billion) called the National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF) was specifically meant for grassroots women who operate informal business to access finances that will facilitate growth and entrepreneurial development at the village or community level. It also has programme has financial inclusion and access to credit component for women among others.
She also revealed that available data showed that women access less than 12% of credit facility in Nigeria’s financial sector, adding that there was need to expand access to credit for them if they are to be active economic agents.
The Minister said that the 10 million facility will be provided at a low interest rate of 5% to women groups with members of not less than 10 individuals, between N20, 000 to 50,000 will be provided to each member of the group with a payback period of 6 months, adding that the identification forms are available for distribution to various states.
She further disclosed that the National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF) programme which will commence through a pilot scheme in eight (8)states is expected to target about 10,000 women beneficiaries per state and to disburse an estimated two hundred million naira (N200 million) per state through functional cooperatives, local trade association and other community based women groups, adding that the National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF) programme will be complimented by the General Enterprise and empowerment programme (GEEP) which will target all other non- pilot states across the Federation.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development Dr. (Mrs) Amina Bello Shamaki said that the present administration’s social protection role to its citizenry was for the purpose of reducing poverty and inequality in Nigeria, adding that the special intervention projects and programme were designed with the outcomes to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor.