BusinessDay

Mohammed Jega demand Financial services for female entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Northern Nigeria 

Mohammed Ibrahim Jega, Co-founder of Domineum Blockchain Solutions has revealed how some of the government policies have affected the economic growth and the over-dependency on public sectors.

He also pointed out key factors that can improve economic development and also women involvement and support to create a balanced workflow in the country.

“The Nigeria economic activities since independence have been dominated by the public sector and large corporations which are characterised by a method of capital production and import-dependent. With these activities is disappointing to say the economic development in the country is at a slow pace considering the abundant human material and Natural resources.  So many factors have led this slow pace in economic development, one of which is change in government policies that have made it difficult for these large cooperations to operate and create employment that will eradicate poverty” he says.

On the slow deviation to individual entrepreneurship development and rise of small and medium enterprises, “emphasis in Nigeria have shifted to entrepreneurship development, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribution to economic growth and development of Asian countries. It is expected that the development of MSMEs in Nigeria will drive innovations and competition in many economic sectors and boost the country economy.

“According to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Survey (2017), revealed that 41.5 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) were registered in 2017. With Lagos State having the highest number of enterprises across all classes, while Katsina had 36.4 per cent, Rivers 21.7 per cent and Kaduna 18.1 per cent. A total of 86.8 males were dominant in agriculture, while 86.8 female dominance was instead observed in accommodation and food services, 68.7 percent recorded in manufacturing, 64.5 per cent on wholesale/retail trade”, he added.

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Using the 2020 report from pwc on micro-business distributions in Nigeria, he says:

“In a report from PWC in April 2020, 41% of micro-businesses in Nigeria are owned by women. According to reports from EFInA (Enhancing Financial Innovation Access, more than 55% of financially excluded adults in Nigeria are women and of the 25.1million financially excluded in the north, 13.1 million are women. These women get involved in enterprising activities in order to be financially independent and also provide the means of survival for their families.

“It is important to acknowledge that financial inclusion can have a transformational impact on women’s economic empowerment, such as increasing the participation of women in setting up businesses, which I believe will reduce poverty in the in the North. ‘’ When you empower a woman, you have empowered a community’’.
There are several barriers, faced by these women that limit their access to use financial services, which I have identified: lack of an ID to prove identity, financially discrimination to accessing credit facilities, insufficient traditionally required collateral, mobility constraints and little or no financial literacy.
“These can be overcome by developing customized value propositions tailored to women’s needs and gender-smart products, and support the development of fintech companies that could create simple and easy to use fintech solution accessible to these female entrepreneurs in the north which enables them carry out business transactions daily”.

Jega, founder Startup Arewa, in his final statement reveals how the government can play a huge role in encouraging these women by assisting through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and collaborating with microfinance institutions to embark on campaigns that will sensitize and train the unbank rural female entrepreneurs  on the need to patronize banks.

“The CBN can recruit female micro entrepreneurs, train them and provide guaranteed credit to them through MFBs. The MFBs can mentor and guide these women to succeed. The training will provide them with required skills and confidence that will douse their phobia with the involvement of CBN, it will help the microfinance banks to avoid the lapses that caused the failure of access to government loan schemes/programmes’, he said.

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