Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Criterion, a group of Muslim women in business and professions has tasked it members to take full advantage of economic potentials in Lagos state.
The Amira, (President) of the Criterion, Lagos District, Alhaja Hameedat Sanni made the call on Sunday at the 2017 edition of the group’s annual seminar with the theme ‘Creating Sustainable Entrepreneurship.
According to her, the theme was triggered by the exigency in the nation, as many people are complaining about the economic situation.
She stated that the economy is downstream, “our husbands are complaining and we discovered that even as women, our income can no longer sustain our needs and we have to make end means through lawful ways.”
Sanni noted that the Criterion also realized that a lot of women do not work at all, while some of those working are facing lots of challenges in sustaining their businesses.
She said, ” For instance, the issues of women’s attitude limiting their goals require sensitization and encouragement, so that our sisters can be up there.”
This she said informed the decision to invite Alhaja Sherifah Andu, the CEO of Arabel as a Muslim woman who is successful in her business to share her experience on how she is coping in this complex environment where people downgrades women wearing hijabs, (headcover), “we said look come and tell us the secret.”
She explained that the Criterion also considered what the Lagos State Government is doing in the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, (LSETF) and decided to position it’s members towards taking such advantage.
Sanni said, “We said if this opportunity is available for us, let’s bring their representative to come and tell us how we can tap from these opportunities and we thank God that the programme was a success.”
She disclosed that beyond the gathering, the Criterion would set up a committee that will work closely with LSETF to guide its members in accessing this loan.
Sanni said, “We are also going to do our in-house screening on the people we are going to introduce to benefit from the loan so as to ensure that we don’t waste our time. We have been told about the requirements for accessing the LSETF and we would make sure that our members are rightly guided on this before we encourage them to go for it.”
The Executive Secretary, LSETF, Mr Akintunde Oyebode commended the Criterion for organizing the programme describing it as a fantastic idea.
He said the idea was commendable because it is in line with the Lagos State Government’s drive to help women put structure to their businesses.
Oyebode also expressed appreciation on the level of feedbacks which he said would enable the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation, the custodian of LSETF in addressing the needs of the Criterion members.
He said, “Am so happy that the programme educated people on the need to structure their businesses, access to finance, markets and the critical enabling factors required of aspiring successful entrepreneurs.
“The Criterion Members must consider themselves blessed to have this kind of opportunity and it is something that they must do continuously, not just a one-time off but, periodically to reinforce the message.
“Like we said, one of the mandates by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is to help women in business and with what the Criterion is doing, LSETF will use them as acquisition partner through which their members can access the fund. All they need to do is to organize themselves to acquire micro, small and medium enterprises loan offer by the LSETF, he added.”
Meanwhile, the CEO Arabel, Alhaja Sherifah Andu maintained that people have to really think out of the box to take advantage of this trying times in Nigeria.
According to her, “it is not every time that we have recession but, when it comes, we don’t just see it as a negative thing, though, it may be tough, we should see it as a time to realign our philosophy in the way we do business and generally take advantage of the situation.
I know generally during recessions, there will redistribution of wealth, some people will be wealthier, some will loose out. So, you need to position yourself to be among the wealthier. Women are very important in the scheme of things and the seminar is about empowering the women.”
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