By Felix Khanoba
The Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs (NAWE) has urged the Federal Government to roll out policies and programmes that will particularly empower female business operators in the country.
The new National President of NAWE, Chief Vera Ndanusa, who made the call on Tuesday in Abuja during her inauguration, also called on government to always consider the interest of women in the various economic policies being rolled out in the country.
While advocating for a law that will allow women to own land officially from family inheritance, Ndanusa, urged state governments to ensure that economic policies were impactful especially with the Girl-Child to facilitate young entrepreneurship.
She emphasised the need for the present administration to involve more women in governance, adding that the new executive would embark on sensitisation to reawaken women to their responsibility in nation building.
The new president expressed displeasure that women were not granted land officially in the sense that women did not usually inherit land culturally, except in an enlightened environment.
“When it comes to farming, women in Nigeria are mostly subsistence farmers; now that we have made a decision on agriculture, the first thing is to access lands and funds that will empower small scale farmers.
“Government and international agencies should tailor their programmes to encourage empowerment of women in sustainable agriculture while financial institutions should be women friendly in their lending considering women’s role in food security,’’ she said.
She also decried the negative effects of insecurity and COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture and other commercial activities involving women in the country.
The new president underscored the need for collaboration with relevant organisations to provide adequate capacity building on modern technology in agriculture and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises for secured and peaceful business environment.
Speaking on reposition the association, she pledged to continue programmes to strengthen professionalism through education, training, and resources while ensuring that members have assistance to develop skills and framework required of modern entrepreneurship.
She disclosed that it would set up NAWE houses in all the 36 states and Abuja to create unique and highly flexible combination of business development process and infrastructure.
Also speaking at the event which attracted the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, among others, Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment in a goodwill message, said Nigeria population revealed that women constituted 49.3 per cent.
Adebayo, represented by Hajara Usman, Assistant Director, Gender, noted that the figure was significant and its effect could not be downplayed in the matter of economic growth and development in Nigeria.
“Women constitute part of the human resources with which both firms and government can optimize being objective function. An economy that successfully attracts and nurtures entrepreneurs in various categories is likely to sustain economic growth,’’ he said.
The minister, while commending the association for contributing to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) implored more women to join the crusade as the task ahead was enormous.
He said in order to sustain Federal Government’s passion for empowerment and gender inclusion as a tool for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 45 per cent was dedicated to women on MSMEs Survival Fund.
He further noted that the ministry has mainstreamed gender issues in its mandate of industrial development, attraction of investment and trade facilitation as well as promotion of entrepreneurship.
On her part, wife of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who received an award from NAWE, called on women entrepreneurs to leverage on technology and social media to boost their business activities.
She commended NAWE for being at the forefront of championing initiatives that would empower women entrepreneurs in the country.
The highlight of the event with the theme “Unleashing Nigeria Women Entrepreneurs into a Connected Economy’’ was the conferment of award of excellence on exceptional persons within the different sector of economy.