Sheriff Balogun in Abeokuta
The Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) has empowered 150, 000 women in the South-west with soft loans as a way of making life meaningful for the women in the zone.
The non-governmental organisation’s Director, Rev. Father John Patrick Ngoyi, during an empowerment programme organised by the Centre for Grassroots Economic Empowerment (CGEE) of Ijebu Ode Catholic Diocese, an arm of JDPC, said the programme focused on assisting small scale farmers and poor women.
Ngoyi, however, explained that the scheme, which was a savings and credit scheme, was established in 1992, calling on communities and traditional institutions to ensure that government at all levels make loans available for the masses, especially women.
He added that it was important not to ignore poverty as far as there are poor families that cannot feed their homes.
According to him, “we must come to realise that to live at peace in this world today. We must not ignore poverty as long as we have a family that is poor, that cannot feed, that cannot afford accommodation, the family that cannot go to hospital when they are sick, one family that cannot feel free around. Believe me, none of us will be at peace, there will be no security; so fighting poverty should be the responsibilities of each one of us.
The Director also pointed out that, “in every institution of our society whether church, mosque, or traditional, we must ensure there is no poverty in our midst.
“Granting loans to women, the way JDPC which is a church-based institution is a way of contributing to the eradication of poverty in our midst. We started in 1992 with 7,000 and today the startup now is 50,000.
“We just make sure that we keep the value of the money. All the money we gave out, we maintain the purchasing power if the rate of the inflation is 12 per cent plus three per cent as a cost of transaction.”
He said, the commission was not really interested in making profit, but what was of interest is to make sure that they have access to loans that will enable them undertake small scale businesses that can grant a leverage to the family.
“Right now we are functioning in all South-west plus Kwara, we are having 150,000 women, including 500 staff members and they are paying tax. We are also funding the government because the government is collecting tax”, he added.
However, Catholic Bishop of Ijebu Ode, Rev Dr. Albert Fasina in his remark said “the commission tries to put in place the social teachings of the church, the social teachings that affect progress and development of the people as Christ taught us and that is what the church is trying to do.
“Through the JDPC, CGEE is trying to look at the economic situation of the people and see how we can develop people and that is they go into micro finance so that people can be helped”, he added.