By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.
Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) of President Buhari-led administration has set aside the sum of N1.6 billion for the National Women Empowerment (NAWEF) popularly called ‘Jarin Mata’.
Minister for Women Affairs, Senator A’isha Alhassan said that NAWEF under GEEP as one of the 5-pillar of the Federal government’s Social Investment Intervention Programme is unique meant for grassroots women starting or expanding small businesses in rural areas to address high poverty levels.
Other objectives, according to her, are to assist in building the economies of the areas most affected by recent insurgency through financial inclusion, and building strong partnership between her Ministry, State Ministries of Women Affairs, Bank of Industry and Development Partners to provide social platform for the programme.
Alhassan, at sensitization meeting with women groups in the Banquet Hall of Bauchi Government House Tuesday, disclosed that NAWEF will be piloted in 8 states with about 10, 000 women per state benefitting, saying however that three insurgency worst hit states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe are chosen from the Northeast zone.
“In addition, one state is selected from each of the remaining five geo-political zones of the country. These are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, Nasarawa, and Osun states. GEEP on the other hand will be implemented nationwide and is open to citizens from all the states of the federation and the FCT” she stated.
She enumerated twelve features of the two programmes which include GEEP is for both men and women who are artisans, farmers, market women or entrepreneurs with each beneficiary getting between N10, 000 to N100, 000 payable in six months, as each beneficiary must be a registered cooperative or group.
Additionally, loans will be paid directly to each beneficiary’s individual bank account, loans will be disbursed and repayment collected through local banks and money agents so as to reach remote areas where there are no banking facilities, and are interest free with no collateral but administrative charge of 5% to cover bank’s expenses for administering the fund.
“My Ministry and Development partners are making arrangements to provide financial literacy and skills training to beneficiaries while business advisory centres will be set up to support women to better manage the loans and their businesses”, the minister said.
She explained that the initiative will help build the economy of the North East region and complement other economic empowerment strategies of the federal and state governments, as well as the Development partners.
Senator A’isha Alhassan urged states of the federation to participate actively in the programme for them to be catalysts for stimulating financial inclusion and livelihood opportunities for women which, she said is greatly needed in non-oil sector of the economy to help reduce feminize poverty.
By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.