The Nigerian Cooperative Women Alliance (NICOWA) will this tomorrow at the Old Parade Ground, Abuja, disburse loans to about 7,400 women drawn from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the NICOWA’s national president, Dr Esther Eka, said yesterday.
The NICOWA had earlier conducted appraisals on the beneficiaries and also organised capacity building programmes to equip them with entrepreneurial skills.
“The beneficiaries will be monitored to ensure that they use the loans prudently so as to repay them when the time comes. We urge women to key into our vision. Sadly, some groups collect money from women without giving loans. We shall do open disbursement to make women see the genuineness of the exercise and encourage them to form cooperative societies to empower themselves,” Eka said.
The managing director of the financial consultant of the NICOWA, the Future Growth Microfinance Bank Ltd, Frances Bekey, said the bank had earmarked over N100 million for the disbursement.
“It will be in stages. The amount depends on individual beneficiaries’ project/business ventures. We have also organised capacity building mechanisms for the beneficiaries to equip them with entrepreneurial capacities. The interest rate is affordable and in accordance with the Central Bank of Nigeria guidelines.
“As the national treasurer of the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), I will involve other microfinance banks in the states to be involved in this exercise to ensure that women everywhere in the country benefit from this exercise,” he said.
Dignitaries expected at the event include the minister of women’s affairs, director-general, Women Development Centre, minister of agriculture, and representatives of state governments. Highlights will include the granting of micro-credits to women, presentation of the Microfinance Bank Institute run by the NICOWA, launching of a community-based health insurance scheme, and conferment of the statuses of patrons, grand patrons and life grand patrons on some people who impacted positively the lives of women.
The NICOWA, founded in 2009 as a mouthpiece for all cooperative women in Nigeria to promote sustainable economic development at grassroots, has over 400,000 primary-member cooperative societies across the federation.
SOURCE: Leadership (Nigeria)
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