The Federal Government of Niogeria says it has earmarked N1.6 billion for women empowerment every three months in its Enterprise and Employment Programme (GEEP) and National Women Empowerment Fund (NAWEF).
The Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aishat Alhassan, made this known to women at the State Banquet Hall, Ilorin during a two-day working visit to Kwara.
The Minister said she was in the state to intimate the women on the various social investment programmes organised by the Federal Government to better the lots of its citizens.
Alhassan further said the programme has five pillars: the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer and the job creation programme known as N’ Power.
Others she said were the Bursary Award System and the Government Enterprise and Employment Programme, aimed at alleviating poverty and reducing unemployment among the citizens.
The minister also told the women that government was working in collaboration with Bank of Industry to give micro credit loans without collateral to people interested in small scale business and at free interest rate.
She said government would want interested citizens to form cooperative groups before they could be eligible for the loan.
Alhassan said government was considering the option of starting the loan with N10, 000 to 100, 000 for a test-run of the programme but urged those who had taken the loan to repay as and when due.
She also appealed to women to key into the various Federal Government empowerment programmes lined up for them by.
Speaking during the event, the Governor’s wife, Mrs Omolewa Ahmed, commended the minister for the visit.
She called on the women in the state said her office was working in synergy with Bank of Industry to facilitate credit loans for women in the state.
Ahmed described Kwara women as focused, go-getters and highly serious minded people.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr Asiata Saka, described the minister’s visit as timely.
She said it was an opportunity for Federal Government to make useful contributions to the issues affecting the development and wellbeing of women in the state.
Saka said that empowering women through the various federal government programmes would enhance their full participation in finding lasting solution to the current economic reality of the country.
The commissioner added that the state ministry of Women Affairs had organised skill acquisition and training programmes for women and youths in various skills.
She said the state government had introduced micro credit revolving loan for women through Bank of Agriculture and the Kwara Commercial Micro Finance Bank to improve their financial inclusion.
The commissioner said the state government had empowered the physically challenged by assisting graduates of Farm Craft Centre for the blind with N5 million and distributed mobility aids to them.
She said the state government was committed to curbing the scourge of child abuse, hawking and sexual harassment.
Saka noted that sexual harassment could constitute psychological depression, stigma, pregnancy, infection and damage to organs and eventually lead to death, if not checked.