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Commissioners of Women Affairs discuss domestication of Women’s Economic policy at subnational levels

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Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister Uju Kennedy Ohaneye and the Director-General of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Prof Ayo Omotayo at the event in Abuja today

By Victoria Onehi

The domestication of the National Women’s Economic Empowerment Policy is key to attaining sustainable economic growth and bridging the gender gaps at Nigeria’s subnational and national levels.

To this end, Commissioners of Women Affairs from across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones are meeting in Abuja on Tuesday for a two-day forum on domesticating the National Women’s Economic Empowerment policy.

The meeting, organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) with the support of the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), was declared open by the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Barrister Uju Kennedy Ohaneye.

The meeting is part of the ongoing efforts to ensure that all 36 federation states have adopted and domesticated the National WEE policy to strengthen access to finance, capacity building, equipment, foreign markets, and skills acquisition.

In her speech at the occasion, the Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister Uju Kennedy Ohaneye called on governments at the federal and subnational levels to invest in economic growth and development and ensure that access to finance and equipment is provided at community, local, and zonal levels to minimise poverty and reduce the suffering of women in Nigeria.

‘We must be practical in our approach and give Nigerian women the opportunities they need to grow. Opportunities such as providing as machines and equipment, processing opportunities, finances and market access.’’ She said.

The Minister disclosed that 15 states have been provided adequate facilities for producing and processing rice and other agricultural output as part of the federal government’s efforts to boost food security and reduce poverty amongst women.

Earlier in her speech, the Executive Director of the Development Research and Projects Centre in Nigeria, Dr Judith-Ann Walker, said the meeting on the domestication of the National WEE Policy is a continuation and a culmination of the dRPC’s work with NIPSS on WEE. This new collaboration with NIPSS and the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs will take place over the next four years and will focus on implementing the WEE policy at the subnational level. 

She revealed that the domestication process will start with the first cluster of 8 states, and in the coming months, eight more states will be selected to support as they domesticate the National WEE policy.

The Director-General of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Prof Ayo Omotayo, disclosed that he believed that the National WEE policy document can completely transform women’s economic status and allow their active participation in the policy process and all productive sectors of our country. 

‘’This, therefore, presupposes the need for a collective effort of all critical stakeholders to ensure that the goals of WEE are attained. It is our sincere hope that through this Forum, stakeholders will engage in meaningful and effective conversations for collective action for the domestication of the WEE programme at the sub-national levels.’’ He said

The Commissioner of Women Affairs of Akwa Ibom state Dr Ini Adiakpan, said the WEE policy will set the pace for its implementation. “The policy sets the pace for the implementers to drive it to the needed aim that has been set or objectives. So, for the next two days, we will be discussing the domestication of the WEE policy accross the 36 states.” She said.

The Representative of Director General of the Maryam Babangida National Center for Women Development and Director Planning, Research and Statistics, Princess Jummai Idonije, said Women Economic Empowerment WEE is crucial to the overall development of the society. “WEE is not just imperative,it is a SMART Initiative to invest in.”She said.

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