The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has remained gender sensitive, dolling out N203.31 billion credit as at January 2022, Godwin Emefiele, the apex bank governor has said.
Emefiele made this disclosure while addressing participants at a webinar hosted by the Deputy Governor in charge of the Financial System Stability (FSS) Directorate, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, as part of activities to commemorate the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD) at the CBN.
Emefiele revealed that females had benefited hugely from the bank’s intervention programmes such as the Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) and the COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility (TCF).
Specifically, he said that out of N134.67 billion disbursed to 37,273 AGSMEIS beneficiaries, as of January 2022, 33 percent (N44.1 billion) went to 12,511 female beneficiaries, while out of N349.51 billion disbursed to 712,442 total beneficiaries under the TCF, 45 percent (N159.21 billion) went to 330,128 female beneficiaries.
He stated that the MSME Development Fund (MSMEDF) was designed to allocate at least 60 per cent of the fund to women and women-owned enterprises of which 60.3 per cent of the of 229,579 beneficiaries are women.
In addition, out of the 211,306 financial statements currently registered in the collateral registry, 92,091, representing 43.6 percent, were female borrowers.
He lamented that women had been disproportionately affected by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change, noting that the CBN “was using the 2022 IWD as an opportunity to celebrate women who are in the frontline of these twin crisis”.
Emefiele said the bank was “taking strategic actions in areas such as recruitment, retention, succession planning, and return-to-office work arrangements in order to address these gender gaps”.
He declared that the CBN had since surpassed affirmative action with 32 percent of the total workforce being female.
“It is only by unleashing the full potential of women to participate fully in the economy that we can strengthen growth, eliminate poverty, create jobs and respond effectively to the mounting global challenges, from the pandemic to climate change,” Emefiele declared.
He reiterated that the CBN had also issued a policy that requires a minimum of 30 percent of female representation on boards and 40 percent at the top management level in the Banking Industry. This, he said, was similar to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy recommending increasing female staff of microfinance banks to 30 percent.