The federal government has disclosed that it is entrenching public financial management processes that would be more gender-sensitive and ensures the availability of credible disaggregated data.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, in her goodwill message yesterday during the commemoration of the “2021 International Women’s Day National Policy Dialogue,” noted that through the implementation of Finance Acts 2019 and 2020, the federal government is providing tax relief and other forms of support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of which are owned by women.
Ahmed said: “We are also working to ensure that our public financial management processes are more gender-sensitive, and that credible disaggregated data is available. 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 pointed out that women and girls have continued to bear the disproportionate burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on the frontlines, in their homes and across various sectors and stated that they must be given the opportunities and tools with which to be socially, financially, and economically empowered.
The minister advocated that every woman and girl should be guaranteed safety in their respective homes, schools, communities, and places of work while calling for an end to gender-based violence and the so-called ‘shadow pandemic’ once and for all.
The minister observed that gender equality and women’s economic empowerment remained 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,” she said.
She described this year’s theme “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World” as a resounding call to celebrate the unfailing resilience and inspiring leadership of women and girls around the world.
She also applauded the efforts of the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, adding that Tallen has been a tireless advocate for gender equality, and had taken a bold stand in the campaign to end violence against women and girls.
Ahmed noted that internationally, the country is proud to have the United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, and the recently appointed World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Director-General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, among its gender advocates and champions of change.