Cooperatives vital for Nigeria’s economic growth – VP Shettima

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Shettima added that the role of cooperatives in facilitating economic activities is the key to the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

Vice-President Kashim Shettima, says cooperative initiatives have what it takes to boost inclusive growth, and development and end poverty in the country.

Shettima said this at the 2nd Abuja Cooperative Summit organised by the National Cooperatives Agency of Nigeria (CFAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

Shettima, represented by Dr Nurudeen Zauro, the Technical Adviser to the President on Financial Inclusion, said the role of cooperatives in facilitating economic activities was key to the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

He said that Tinubu’s administration had signed the Student Loan Act, and set up the Credit Corp to enhance access to consumer credit.

The vice president said the recent signing of the Aso Accord on Economic and Financial Inclusion was also a commitment to support economic and financial inclusion which cooperatives played significant roles in achieving.

“This administration is mindful of the fact that over 30 million of our people do not have access to a broad range of affordable financial services to enable them to fulfil their economic potential.

“A major reason for that is low income.

“This is not just an economic problem but might further lead to insecurity, this is the reason why the conversation on economic inclusion, financial inclusion, and insecurity is of high priority to this administration today.

“This administration believes a strategic approach is important to address the subject of economic and financial inclusion, and as such has elevated the subject to the agenda of the National Economic Council,” he said.

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Nkem Chime, the Head, of the Strategy Coordination Office, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said that 74% of the populace was financially included while 26% was excluded.

Chime said the CBN would continue to pave the way for innovative programmes to encourage cooperatives. The Executive Secretary of CFAN, Emmanuel Atama, said the summit was geared toward activating the Cooperative Development Fund.

Atama said the summit was also to have a robust discussion on cooperatives’ resilience in the face of diverse economic challenges. He said the agency had also partnered with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Department of Science, Technology and Innovation to build the entrepreneurial capacity of cooperative members.

The Director of the FCT Department of Science Technology and Innovation, Olobashola Kolawole, said that cooperatives were the backbone of entrepreneurship.

He said the department would continue to collaborate with cooperatives to establish youths for the development of the country. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that cooperative members from different states attended the summit.

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