By Miriam Humbe
Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has said that her ministry is ready to work with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), to support all women entrepreneurs with the aim of actualizing the 2030 vision for women economic development.
The Minister said this on Thursday in Abuja in a keynote address at the SheTrades Policy Dialogue “Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment and Public Procurement in Nigeria” organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC) Geneva, in collaboration with the NEPC.
Dame Tallen said: “Women empowerment is key as without empowering the women, there will be no development in the society.
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji while speaking through a representative, said: Gender equality and the empowerment of women is a prerequisite for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations, setting forth an ambitious development agenda to 2030. Available statistics indicate that advancing women’s equality could add $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025, thus enabling economies to unlock their full potentials.
“At the national level, we have enacted the Public Procurement Act of 2007 and the Concession Regulatory Act of 2005, which govern public contracts in the country. At the state level, 23 out of 36 states have adopted the Public Procurement Act.
She regretted that in spite of the above, women’s participation in public procurement in Nigeria still remains low, and procurement data, disaggregated by gender, is not readily available. Therefore gender-responsive procurement policy and practices should aim at understanding and addressing the barriers faced by women-owned businesses.
“I sincerely applaud this laudable initiative launched in Nigeria since 2016 and aimed at connecting three (3) million women to the global market by 2021.
“I therefore make a clarion call to all MDAs, captains of industry, and the organized private sector (OPS) to join hands with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), on this commitment to move Nigerian women to the global export market. On our part, the Ministry will advocate, within government, for a policy that addresses the issue of public procurement allocation for women-owned businesses.
She said Nigeria’s overall competitiveness and sustainable development, depends, to a large extent on a reduction in gender disparities in all facets of development. Nigeria will maintain its commitment and continued trade enhancing reforms on women inclusiveness.
“In order to actualize the vision of this dialogue, the private sector has a critical role to play particularly in the area of corporate procurement. SheTrades seeks the allocation of a minimum of 10% corporate procurement to women-owned businesses. This approach will see to the participation of Nigerian women in global value chains”, she said.
She thanked the former Director General of the ITC, Ms. Arancha Gonzalez and her team, for partnering with the NEPC to create greater opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This is of paramount importance at this crucial time of our economic development.
Women’s economic empowerment is not a matter for government policy, the private sector, or social change alone. All have critical roles to play. This is why the International Trade Centre (ITC) has launched the SheTrades initiative, which seeks to connect three million women entrepreneurs to market by 2021.