By Bimbola Oyesola and Uche Usim, Abuja
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on Monday assured that the Federal Government, through the implementation of Finance Acts 2019 and 2020, will provide tax relief, funds and other support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of which are women-owned.
In her goodwill message at the 2021 International Women’s Day Commemoration: National Policy Dialogue, she said that the government was working hard to ensure that public financial management processes are more gender-sensitive with credible disaggregated data availability.
“Such a focus will yield sustainable and scalable change. We are also scaling up existing and developing new interventions at the intersection of gender equality and fiscal policy/public financial management. These include gender responsive budgeting, and assessments of the gender responsiveness of key fiscal interventions (including fiscal stimulus packages) with specific commitments aimed at improving the safety, livelihoods, and economic status of women and girls. This is an area in which we at the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning are focusing more deliberately and will be prioritising, in partnership with the Ministry of Women Affairs and other critical stakeholders,”, she explained.
According to her, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment remain critical to ensuring inclusive and sustainable development. “If we fail to act now, the goals espoused in the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 will remain out of reach.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s oil workers and 9 Payment Service Bank yesterday joined colleagues across the world to celebrate Nigerian women and their resilience on the International Women’s Day (IWD).
In a separate statements, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and 9 Payment Service Bank called on governments across board, NGOs, Labour Centres and theirs affiliates and other stakeholders to chat a new course by putting an end to the exclusion and marginalisation of women and girls, stating that this must be urgently backed with affirmative actions in all relevant statute books.
According to NUPENG President, William Akporeha, this year, International Women’s Day is being specially marked to highlight the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic just as it rightfully came with the theme, ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.’