Women groups in Nigeria are asking for the implementation of the Presidential Executive Order 5 which directs that all procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007, saying the order is an opportunity for women businesses to thrive.
This request was made during a roundtable meeting organised by the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Women Business Group, in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, UN Women, and the Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development, anchored by the Development Research and Project Centre.
In her opening remarks at the occasion, a former Minister of Trade and Industries and Chairperson of NACCIMA Women Business Group, Aisha Abubakar, disclosed that the presidential executive order should be enforced to enable women to have the desired quota in procurement and other government businesses.
While describing the need to implement the order, she said gender equality is a human rights issue and an economic opportunity for the vulnerable. She then urged the federal and state governments to open up procurement for women businesses to empower them, create job opportunities, and enhance the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
In her remark at the occasion, the National Coordinator of Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED), Vera Ndanusa, who is also the President of the National Association of Women Entrepreneurs, said women will no longer continue to debate the economic, social and political benefits of supporting women’s economic empowerment since it has been established in international conventions and declarations, including the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. She said all available evidence confirms that supporting women’s entrepreneurship and women-owned businesses helps to increase national growth and development.
“In Nigeria, women businesses account for only 1 per cent of all procurements at the federal and state levels. This is due to a lack of access to information about the opportunities, legal and regulatory challenges, and other barriers preventing women from having access to this critical sector of national growth. While globally, procurement is estimated to be $5.5 billion, Nigeria spends $1.1 billion on procurement. This is equivalent to N473 billion. Only N4.73 billion goes to women businesses,” she said.
While commending NAWORG for organising the roundtable, she also commended the Nigerian Export Promotion Council for the various interventions targeting women, including but not limited to the Women Market Access programme, and Women in Export Development programme, as well as the recently launched She Trades Initiative.
“At the Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development, we call on all to double efforts to ensure more of these opportunities go to women businesses. We should also take advantage of Presidential Executive Order 5, which direct procurement agencies to patronize local companies, to empower women business through the removal of barriers in procurement,” she added.
Ms Ndanusa then called for stronger partnerships in building advocacies together for a stronger voice for women in businesses to be able to speak and demand with one voice.
Let us work together to ensure that the commitment by Nigeria’s stakeholders to ensure 30 per cent of all procurement is given to women businesses by 2026 becomes a reality.
The Director General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Ayoola Olukanni, said the chamber serves as the umbrella organisation for all the various affiliate members within the country. Membership of the association is voluntary and it encompasses city, state and bilateral chambers, business/professional bodies as well as corporate members.
He added that the NACCIMA Women Group (NAWORG) was constituted by the Executive Committee of NACCIMA on December 7, 2005, as one of the Trade Groups of the association. The membership of the group is open to all women within the chamber’s development. The group has the mandate to coordinate the activities of women not only within the chamber’s development but also cut across women from the West African sub-region
He reiterated the call for enforcement of the pronouncement of the Presidential Executive Order on the allocation of a quota on public procurement to women owned companies. He said the order will go a long way in promoting inclusion of women in public procurement and to ensure the implementation of this Presidential Executive Order by the government.
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