By Olushola Akinyele
Ecobank Nigeria has extended easy and low interest loans to market women in Idanre, Ondo State through its Ecobank Female Entrepreneurship Initiative (EFEI), to boost and expand their trading businesses. Unveiling the scheme at Owa’s Palace, Idanre, Head of Classic Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Femi Ogundairo, said the Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs’ Initiative loan was specially designed by the bank to financially empower female business owners and entrepreneurs in the country, adding that it was a further demonstration of the importance the bank attaches to the role of women in sustainable development and contribution to the society and nation’s economy.According to him, “the beneficiaries, who are expected to be women will be given the sum of #50,000.00 which will be repaid in six months at a monthly installment of #8,500.00 which represents 1% interest rate. There are no hidden charges for the loans and beneficiaries who pay back regularly and on time may be rewarded and given higher loan facilities.” He added that under EFEI, “the bank will also organize regular free training programmes for the women on how to do their businesses better and manage their money and loans well.”Ogundairo also used the opportunity to introduce the bank’s agency banking also known as Xpress Point to the people, saying they offer on behalf of the bank some services such as account opening, cash deposit and withdrawal, loan disbursement, fund transfer, bills payment, airtime recharge among others. He noted that agency banking would give the teeming unemployed Idanre youths employment opportunities which could subsequently make them not only gainfully employed but ultimately employers of labour.Speaking at the event, Owa of Idanre Kingdom and Paramount ruler of Idanre Land, His Imperial Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Frederick Adegunle Aroloye, Arubiefin IV, (JP) OFR, lauded the decision of the bank to assist market women in the town, stressing that ‘since the bank’s mission’s borders on development and progress of the people, the palace will be ready to give it available and necessary supports to ensure it succeeds in Idanre Land.’In her comment at the event, Iyaloja General of Idanre Land and Vice President of Iyalojas and Babalojas of Nigeria, Princess Nike Aroloye Akingboye, thanked the bank for offering assistance to the market women in Idanre town to develop their trading business, assuring that ‘Idanre market women are credible people who would utilize the loans well and perform all necessary roles expected from the bank promptly.’Many potential beneficiaries have started applying for the loan facility. While commending Ecobank for the assistance, submitted that the loan will help them improve their businesses.