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First Bank of Nigeria PLc, weekend unveiled a scheme tailored to drive women in financial inclusion and emancipation.
Speaking at the launch in Lagos, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said the FirstGem product, is very critical to the country’s development as women whom the scheme is designed for needed to be financially independent as they represent 52 per cent of the country’s population. She added that over 70 per cent SMEs operators were women.
The minister, who commended the bank for introducing the product, noted that FirstGem would help women to show track record of success that would make banks to offer them funds to grow their businesses.
Adeosun stated that women must learn to save and stick with their budget in order to prepare for tough times, noting that, women must not spend all their monies on consumables.
In a lighter mood, the minister said “Women have to open their eyes; your children are not your pension because it doesn’t work anymore.”
In her remarks, the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, who was the special guest of honour, commended the bank for the product aimed at empowering women.
She urged women to take advantage of the product and empower themselves, noting that, recession had opened up a lot of opportunities that were yet to be tapped.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, said that the product was introduced to support and make women more financially responsible to be good entrepreneurs.
She added that the given country was going through tough times and women needed to wake up in order to support their families.
“We want to ensure that women stand on their own when the need arises, its time for the women to wake up and must not be a liability.
“We want to use the product to challenge the mind of women to save and have the capacity to stand on their own.”
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Adesola Adeduntan, said the significant role of women in economic development was not debatable, stressing that FirstGem was initiated in order to empower more women to contribute their quota to economic development.