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IWD: Speaker Abbas, deputy advocate more economic empowerment, inclusion

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajuddeen and his deputy, Benjamin Kalu, have called for the continued economic empowerment of women, as well…

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajuddeen and his deputy, Benjamin Kalu, have called for the continued economic empowerment of women, as well as expanding their participation in all socio-economic spheres of national life.

They made the call in separate remarks at this year’s International Women’s Day celebration held at the National Assembly on Friday.

In his remarks, the Speaker said that women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria was crucial for national development and sustainable economic growth. 

He said, “Data from the PWC show that Nigerian women account for 41 per cent of micro-business ownership in Nigeria, with 23 million female entrepreneurs operating within this segment. 

“This places Nigeria among the highest entrepreneurship rates globally. Also, in the formal sector, employment at the lower levels indicates an even 50-50 split in the workplace between men and women.

“Empowered women are more likely to invest in their families’ health, education and nutrition, improving future generations’ outcomes. Moreover, by participating actively in the economy, women drive productivity and innovation, promoting diversity in the workforce and stimulating economic growth. 

“For this reason, the House is committed to working with the executive to create an enabling environment that allows women access finances for investment, take on leadership roles, excel in their chosen careers and actively participate in national policy-making and dialogue.”

Similarly, Deputy Speaker Kalu noted that while Nigeria boasts of a thriving ecosystem of female-led businesses, there was persistence of a significant funding gap. 

He said, “Despite 41 per cent of small and medium enterprises being owned or led by women, less than 4 per cent receive the financial support crucial for growth and sustainability.

“In recognition of this disparity, my office is actively working to bridge the gap. Through strategic collaborations with innovation and tech organisations such as Meta (formerly Facebook) and AfriLabs, we intend to develop policies and facilitate stakeholder dialogues on strategies to increase financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs. These strategies will culminate in the launch of proactive initiatives specifically geared toward the removal of barriers to financial inclusivity.”

 

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