By Victoria Onehi
The President of the National Council of Women Societies, Hajiya Lami Adamu Lau has decried the sharp reduction of the budget for Women Economic Empowerment Initiatives in the proposed 2023 budget. The budget droped from N103 billion in 2022 to N58 billion in proposed 2023 budget-a reduction of 56 percent.
Lau disclosed this during a Press Conference NCWS held yesterday in collaboration with Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED) a programme anchored by Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC).
“When we at the NCWS reviewed the 2023 budget estimates submitted by Mr. President we were alarmed to see that despite Mr. President’s commitment to the economic advancement of our women, there is almost no money in the budget to support women.
“The allocation to Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) in the 2022 budget was N103 billion Naira. In the 2023 budget the allocation to WEE is N58 billion Naira. This is a reduction of 56% of the budget line for women’s economic empowerment in the 2023 budget compared to the budget for the year 2022.” Lau said.
The NCWS President said not only has the money for WEE programmes been cut but there are now fewer Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) carrying out WEE Programmes in 2023 compared to 2022.
” In this year, 2022 a total of 164 MDAs put in WEE activities into the budget for this year 2022. But for 2023 only 51 MDAs are having any activities to do with women’s economic empowerment.” Lau explains.
She further said another matter of great concern is the severe reduction of the budget for the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs. ” Without funding for the women machinery, that is, the Ministry, it is very difficult to implement and even monitor Projects. In the 2022 budget the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs received N19 billion or 18.19% of the budget for women’s economic empowerment. In the 2023 budget the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs was only allocated N2.1 billion Naira or 3.59% of the total budget for WEE.”She explains.
Lau therefore called on National Assembly to provide adequate resources for Women’s Economic Empowerment in the 2023 budget in line with the clear commitment made by Mr. President.
“The National Council for Women Societies therefore call for adequate and proportionate funding for women in economic activities, because as we know when a woman is economically equipped the entire family and the nation will benefit. Investing in women is a guarantee for sustainable national growth and development.We hope the National Assembly will do the needful as they review the 2023 budget.”Lau explains.
Corroborating this,the Director Programmes, dRPC Dr Stanley Ukpia said government need to be intentional about mainstreaming gender in the budget and Investing in Women Economic Empowerment.
“As a matter of fact,Mr President in his speech in National Assembly on 7th October noted that he was going to ensure that Women Economic Empowerment was going to be leveraged on accross implementing MDAs but this does not reflect that intention to invest in women.
” And we know that if the country is serious about economic development,they need to still consider Investing in the women.They say if you invest in the woman,you will improve the society.This is a sure way that has been backed by economist around the world.So for us as an advocacy organisation, what we are doing is supporting the women to amplify their voices on this topic.” Ukpai said.