Federal government is working with the national assembly to ensure inclusion of women’s economic development and financial inclusion in the ongoing constitutional review in Nigeria as this will strengthen and empower the 49.32% of critical Nigeria’s population and entrust inclusive development of the country.

This was disclosed at the 2021 training of women cooperatives from the Nigeria for Women Project states by the Minister of State Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo.

The workshop, which is in collaboration with the Michael Imodu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), and the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), under the Partnership for Advancing Women’s Economic Development in Nigeria, is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Minister also commended President Buhari for his interventions through the economic inclusion policies that have strengthen women and their interest

He added that the collaboration with the dRPC to empower women cooperatives is key to placing the women in a position to demand for a better intervention by government at the national and sub national segment of government.

He then urged the participants to commit totally to be able to develop action and plans to enable them advocate for women’s economic empowerment.

35 women cooperatives from the Nigeria for women states of Kebbi, Abia, Niger, Ogun, and Taraba are attending the 3-day workshop on advocacy and communication skills designed to empower women to conduct advocacy to duty bearers for advancing women businesses, constituency mobilization, and coalition building, as well as messaging, communication strategies, and leadership strengthening and management of women economic collectives in Nigeria.

In his welcome address, the Director General, Michael Imodu Institute for Labour Studies, Mr Issa Aremu disclosed that the institute supports wholeheartedly the advocacy of the federal government to review of the 1999 constitution to capture women’s participation and gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions. He added that only inclusive economic empowerment can ensure sustainable political inclusion of women.

‘Women need both power and money to catch up in the race for development and poverty eradication. MINILS would support a new Political Economy for women inclusion in national development’ He added

Comrade Aremu further added that notwithstanding the barriers and constraints to women’s businesses, Nigerian women still remain a most formidable productive force and reservoir of Human Resources needed for national development, adding that despite imposed obstacles, women still dictate the pace and direction of Nigerian economy and society in many respects.

He then commended President Buhari for appointing a woman in charge of Finance and economy. Adding that the federal government has midwifed various fiscal measures including economic sustainability plan together with CBN, Nigeria to weather the storm of two recessions and COVID: 19 impacts.

‘According to the 2020 report released by the price Waterhouse (PwC) women in Nigeria accounted for 41 per cent ownership of micro businesses in the country. The percentage rate represents a total of 23 million female entrepreneurs operating within the segment. The report actually places “Nigeria among the countries with highest entrepreneurship rates globally”. He added.

In his keynote address at the workshop, dRPC Coordinator, Dr Yahaya Hashim, disclosed that the development Research and Projects Centre has trained over 500 CSOs have so far since 1994, adding that working with women economic collectives is an opportunity to strengthen a critical sector of Nigeria’s population to be able to demand for improvement in their lives in Nigeria.

The workshop, he said, is an opportunity to work with women livelihoods association which represents and protect the interest of women across the 36 states of the federation, adding that when women are empowered, the nation stands to benefit in the areas of socio-economic development and growth of the country.

He therefore, urged the participants to use the opportunity to network and build a voice to demand for the best for Nigerian women, and also called on the Nigeria for Women Project to identify women cooperatives that will be trained by the dRPC and the Michael Imudo Institute.

The 3-day workshop is expected to empower the women cooperatives to build their skills on advocacy and communication to demand for more participation and access to economic development through inclusive policy development and implementation at the national and subnational levels.

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