Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, says no few than 3,339 grassroots women have benefitted from the ministry’s micro credit schemes to empower women and reduce poverty across the nation.
Tallen made this revelation during a courtesy visit by the management and staff of the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) in Abuja.
According to her, the micro-credit scheme tagged, Women Fund for Economic Empowerment (WOFEE) is part of the ministry’s projects for women and is being implemented in partnership with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA).
“It is a funding window for grassroots women that are into micro or small businesses so as to gain access to supportive inputs without passing through rigorous process of conventional financial institutions,” she said.
She also revealed that the Business and Development Fund for Women (BUDFOW) scheme would boost the financial bases of women entrepreneurs with the potential to transmit from micro, small medium or large scale operation.
“The scheme is currently implemented in partnership with Bank of Industry (BOI) and the loan procedure are meant to bridge gender gaps in credit finance sectors by reducing rigorous conventional banking procedures for accessing loans,” she said.
The minister said through its Economic Services Department, the ministry supplied food processing machines and equipment to assist women in agriculture to reduce post-harvest losses and ensure preservation to achieve food security.
Tallen, therefore, reiterated the ministry’s commitment toward promoting gender and children issues, initiating policy guidelines and lead the process of gender mainstreaming at all levels.
While, assuring the agency of their supports in carrying out their mandates, the minister called for interventions to promote girl-child education, provide menstrual sanitary pads for less privileged girls and support women empowerment.
Earlier, the National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer, AUDA-NEPAD, Princess Gloria Akobundu, said the agency aimed at accelerating economic co-operation and integration to address under-development and marginalisation of Africa globally.
Akobundu said the agency’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) programme was designed as a self-monitoring and assessment tool to track, monitor and assess the impact of the implementation of AU Agenda 2063.
She added that the APRM would also do same to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and United Nations agenda 2030 on socio-economic development as well as provide quality leadership.
“The APRM Review Process is based on a country’s performance and not a score-card as it is not meant to name, shame or punish any APRM member state,” she said.
According to her, the process seeks to entrench good governance practices by deepening the principles of democracy, transparency, accountability, integrity, respect for human rights, and promotion of the rule of law for SDGs.
“Nigeria is currently undergoing its second Peer Review Self-Assessment process, hence the need for the ministry to generate data on gender mainstreaming as it relates to their mandates,” she explained.
Akobundu said the process was participatory and inclusive involving the public and private sector, Civil Society Organisations, media, youths and women organisations, academia, traditional and religious leaders, People with Disabilities, among others.
She, therefore, urged the ministry to respond to the National Programme of Action (NPoA) questionaire, which would be sent quarterly that would form the nucleus for tracking progress report for integration into the country’s progress report.
She commended the ministry’s role in achieving economic growth and sustainable development though its enormous contributions to gender mainstreaming at all levels in the country.