The Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank is supporting women and youth with a N10 billion export facility, according to Stella Okotete, Executive Director, Business Development.
She disclosed this recently in Abuja at the official presentation of the Women And Youth Export Facility (WAYEF), a new product of the bank.
Okotete said that WAYEF was developed by the bank on the recognition of the critical role of women and youth in the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
On the aim of the facility, she said that the aim was to upscale the activities of SMEs in the non-oil export value chain to enable Nigerian exporters to take advantage of the enormous potentials of international trade.
Okotete also said that the facility, which was originally at a single digit interest rate of nine percent, would go for five percent till February 2022.
“There is no better time than now to avail yourself to tap into these products. So, if you can actually become an aggregator, you can increase your export quantity and employ more women and young people in Nigeria to play in the export value chain,” she said.
She stated that the tenor was in line with working capital and project financing requirements, which was a maximum of two years and five years, subject to review by NEXIM.
The Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Mr Abba Bello, said the facility was part of its contribution towards women and youth empowerment.
He also said that it was also in commemoration of the 2021 International Women’s Day, which was celebrated on March 8.
According to him, most discrimination against women has its roots in age-long cultural practices.
He, however, stated that there was the need to redouble efforts towards addressing such cultural practices and other obnoxious beliefs that have imposed limitations on gender.
“The female gender is the reason why we are here, the male gender needs to understand that we are poorer, as a people and as nations, by denying women equal opportunities,” he stated.
“Let me clarify though that over the years, the bank has provided a normal support for many export oriented industries who are employers of women and youth.
“We, however, seek to do more by supporting women and youth owned businesses operating in the various aspects of the export value chain,” he said.
Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said it was gratifying that NEXIM recognised the indispensable role of women in economic development and had developed an export facility to cater for their special funding needs.
“This initiative speaks to the new concept of analytical work of grace, quality and how we can best work together across all levels of government, the private sector and the civil society in translating evidence into impact on women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria.