Experts harp on restructuring of loans for women

Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi also pursued "unfettered access for decent credit" for women.
Nigerian Actress Arriving For The Celebration of Nigerian Women For Peace And Empowerment Rally in Abuja On Thursday, 15 - 8 - 13

Experts have called for Nigeria to restructure lending facilities. It is to mitigate the negative impact of certain government policies on women who have cash flow issues running micro-businesses.

According to them, a large number of women are now financially excluded because they earn less than men, and as a result, they are closer to the poverty line, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation even worse.

During a recent webinar, the experts tagged the assertion: ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on Women at the Bottom of The Pyramid’, while urging the government and private sector to enable low-income women to survive and thrive now and post-pandemic.

2019 Study published by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the theme: ‘Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA)’ states that the key factors responsible for women's financial exclusion include income rates, education and trust in financial services, among others, which have restricted women's access to financial products and services.

The World Bank also notes that for many women the lack of regular income and financial services unaffordability are strong characteristics of the COVID-19 period.

Godwin Ehigiamusoe, founder and former managing director of Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO) Microfinance Bank Limited, said the country needed to restructure loans with focus on vulnerable women.

He cited mid-term loans provided to small business owners, which he said is a financial tool used by LAPO Microfinance Bank to assist with cash flow issues for these business owners.

Ehigiamusoe therefore called for open conversation between government agencies and the most vulnerable women to help them understand the specific challenges these women face.

Saudatu Mahdi, Women's Rights Advocate and Secretary-General of Women's Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), emphasized the need for a national women's database in the lowest economic strata, which she said would give financial agencies a better understanding of where such services are most needed and how to make them available.

Woman health activist and first Nigerian elected as president of the International Association of Medical Woman, Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi also pursued "unfettered access for decent credit" for women.

She noticed that most of the macro loans were provided to men while women were primarily unwittingly nudged into owning and operating small businesses. Nwadinobi also called for greater exposure to violence against women, as this exacerbates health issues and costs.

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