As debate continues on 2022 , N16.39 national budget announced by President Muhammadu Buhari, Women Economic Collectives ( WECs), have been urged to speak out and step up advocacy for women empowerment and inclusion in resource allocations.
The Director General of Micheal Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) Comrade Issa Aremu, mni made this call at the opening session of a two day Advocacy and Communication collaborative workshop for the women in cooperatives working for economic empowerment in Ilorin.
The Training workshop sponsored by Melinda Gates Foundation was organized for 35 participants drawn from various cooperative groups by development Research and Projects Centers (dRPC) and Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS).
Comrade Aremu said notwithstanding the economic down turn occasioned by Covid-19 global pandemic, the 2022 Federal Appropriation Bill as well as states’ budgets had allocated significant resources to capital and recurrent expenditures, education, health and social sector. He therefore urged women in cooperatives “to speak out through advocacy in order to enhance women participation and inclusion in national development.”
According to him, the bane of women exclusion in development process was what he called “unacceptable silence of women in the face of unjust resource allocation process”. He therefore advised women in Cooperatives to speak out for more resources for small and medium enterprises, health, child care and infrastructural development. The Director General praised dRPC for strengthening the capacity of women in Economic cooperatives to “conduct evidence based advocacy to national policy makers and other stakeholders with messages of of the value and importance of national investment”.
On Wednesday as part of the capacity building programs, the participants went on Advocacy visits to Kwara state’s ministries of Finance, enterprise and innovation and agriculture in a bid to advocate for financial and economic inclusion in the preparation and implementation of the state 2022.
The Director General hailed the struggle of women for empowerment since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999 adding that with as many notable 50 female appointees by President Muhammadu Buhari and 9 female cabinet members by Governor of Kwara, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaaq, democracy has ensured women participation which he said long period of military dictatorship had denied women.
“ Women must just not be active participants in a democracy but defenders of democratic process which has promoted female inclusion that the military rule denied for decades in Nigeria, ” he said.
Comrade Aremu commended the suspension of Sudan from Africa Union ( AU) following the recent unconstitutional forceful removal the civilian transition in the Sudan. “The new military usurpers in some Africans are political dinosaurs, whose time had long been better forgotten. Nobody should ever rule in Africa without a freedom given mandate in free and fair election. The coup plotters in Karthoum should vacate power, abandon brinkmanship and restore civility” he said.