To advance economic empowerment for women entrepreneurs, a strategy called “Affirmative Procurement has been unveiled.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony Thursday in Abuja, the Minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen explained that the project aims at enhancing access to public and private procurement opportunities for women.
The Affirmative Procurement Project is financially and technically supported by the African Development Bank, UN Women and Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs.
According to the Minister who was represented by the Director overseeing office of the Permanent Secretary Idris Mohammed, the project would promote women inclusion, gender equality and empowerment, inclusive economic growth and national development through enhanced access to public procurement opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
She noted that Public procurement, creates market opportunities that have long been recognized as an engine of growth for small and medium enterprises, adding that this represents an attractive market for women entrepreneurs as it accounts for 15 to 30 per cent of GDP globally
” The launch of this project resonates with our advocacy on advancing economic empowerment for women entrepreneurs through enhanced access to public and private procurement opportunities,” she said.
While highliting challenges that limited access to procurement opportunities for women entrepreneurs to include limited information around the drafting of bids, she added that the lack of technical capacities to execute contract, access to information and networks to respond to procurement calls, long delays in payment from government procuring entities.
She therefore stressed that Investing in capacity strengthening for women entrepreneurs to benefit from public procurement alone, would not guarantee their economic empowerment.
” We must first address existing structural barriers that women entrepreneurs face and accelerate action to promote gender-responsiveness across procurement processes, practices and institutions, so that change can happen within a reasonable time frame,” she said.
Earlier, the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS Ms Beatrice Eyong, said the project would aide in empowering women and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals .
Giving an overview of the project the Deputy Country Representative, UN Women Nigeria Mr Lansana Wonneh, represented by National Economist with the UNwomen Dr. Chukwuemeka Onyimadu, explained that the project seeks to support reform and institutional strengthening to improve women led businesses access to public procurement.
He said Lagos and Kaduna states are the pilot states to execute the three-year project.
In his remarks, the Director-General, Lagos state Public Procurement Agency, Mr Onafowote Fatai-Idowu, reiterated their commitment towards women empowerment through strengthening their capacities.
Meanwhile, the Director General Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority Sanusi Yero, said findings revealed that Women-Led businesses were not actively involved in Public Procurement opportunities.