Friday, January 14, 2022 / 11:00 AM / Bukola Akinyele-Yisau for
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The biggest motivation for providing micro-funding for women is to encourage them to scale capacity to lift them from poverty. Mrs. Faoziyah Giwa, Assistant Director, Cooperatives, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Lagos gave this explanation, while giving her views on "Islamic Microfinance: Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs".
According to Giwa it also promotes the women's sense of self-worth, their ability to determine their own choices and their right to social empowerment.
She highlighted the following as six (6) reasons for providing Microfinancing for women which include the following;
On the difference between Islamic microfinance funding for women and conventional finance, she explained that conventional microfinance involves interest rates but Islamic microfinance does not. She said Islamic micro-funding for women raises capital, through charity-based interventions such as Zakat and Sadaqa.
Donations are given to people as working capital to start businesses, participate in trainings, while they also form groups that they give capital at zero interest rate, thereby creating wealth and empowerment. She said NASFAT adopted this initiative to support its members.
Giwa believed that the adult literacy programme would entail teaching women how to keep records of their businesses, such as the amount gained from the market, the amount spent, stock taking and understanding how to manage the business.
"At the end of three (3) months they give reports of their businesses and receive guidance after review" Giwa added.
She believed that Nigeria's non-interest microfinance has the capacity to empower women in trading, giving soft loans at zero interest, providing access to funds, and enabling them to deploy technology to scale up their activities.
For 2022 she emphasized the need for women to explore the cooperatives, which is the best strategy alongside skills acquisition.
Speaking on the NASFAT initiative, she said it plans to deepen its activities in supporting women empowerment in Nigeria. According to her, in the last two years NASFAT has trained over 5,000 members and over 45% funding went to women in various vocational skills to improve their economic livelihood. She stated that 0ver N28m had been allocated for the empowerment of 1,130 members in microbusinesses. This was given at zero interest.
According to Giwa, NASFAT's focus for women entrepreneurs in 2022 covers capacity building, mentoring, adult literacy, financial literacy, skills acquisition, empowerment, promote health and wellbeing of women, improved welfare for women and widows.