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Since independence in 1960, Nigeria has introduced a series of development plans as part of efforts to move the country along the path of growth and development. The National Development Plan is the country’s action plan for national development, as approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The latest, the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025, was approved on November 10, 2021. The plan was to succeed the “Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, and the Economic Viability Plan 2020” which passed in the year 2021. The new development plan aims to build extensive infrastructural development, promote macroeconomic stability and improve living conditions.
Given the importance of Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) to national socio-economic and political development, this report is an analysis of the new plan with the following objectives: To determine whether or not the new plan prioritizes the WEE; check whether the WEE is seen as a strategy to achieve plan objectives, identify similarities and differences between the new plan and previous development plans, and identify policy issues in the new plan.
The WEE is increasingly at the center of international development policy, not just as a means to an end, but as an end in itself.
To achieve several development goals, such as those set out in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, empowering women is seen as key to reducing poverty and improving the health and well-being of future generations. Women make up half of the human population, yet they suffer from gross inequalities.
Gender gaps in income and human capital persist despite rapidly improving living standards and education levels around the world, and women continue to disproportionately bear the burden of unpaid care work and to be victims of gender-based discrimination and violence.
According to experts, Nigeria’s fundamental problem in the 2018-2021 subnational WEE budgets is the poor prioritization of the WEE. Between 2018 and 2021, some states allocated approximately 1% of their capital budget to WEE-focused programs. Although there are WEE related programs which are lump sum in many other states empowerment projects in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
In the absence of WEE Project coordination, several states are implementing WEE and there are no known efforts available in these states to coordinate these WEE programs. While the Federal Ministry of Agriculture executes its WEE budget, the Ministries of Business, Finance, Women’s Affairs and others also execute theirs. This is prone to corruption and the same group of people are able to benefit from it at any time, leaving large numbers of others without access.
In June and September 2020, the three planning committees namely; A Technical Working Group (TWG), Central Working Group (CWG) and National Steering Committee (NSC) have been set up to prepare the National Medium Term Development Plan (MTNDP), 2021-2025, MTNDP 2026-2030 and Agenda 2050. One year after their inauguration, the long-awaited draft development plan was approved. The new national development plan aims to create 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025. It is part of the federal government’s effort to lift around 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
The plan has the following broad strategic objectives: Establish a solid foundation for a diversified economy, with robust MSME growth and a more resilient business environment, to invest in critical physical, financial, digital and innovation infrastructure; build a strong framework and build capacity to strengthen security and ensure good governance, and enable a vibrant, educated and healthy population. To achieve these goals, an investment of around N348.1 trillion from the public and private sectors is estimated between 2020 and 2025. While 14% (N49.7 trillion) of the fund will come from government budget allocation in capital, 86% (N298.3 trillion) will come from private investors. Of the 49.7 trillion naira in the public sector, 59.5% is expected to come from the federal government, 27.2% (13.4 trillion naira) from state governments and 13.6% (6.8 trillion naira) by local authorities. Governments.
The Development Research and Projects Center (DRPC) has suggested that the federal government should urgently develop indicators and set milestones for various WEE programs under the National Development Plan 2021-2025.
That the Federal Government of Nigeria should tie resources to programs, making it clear that the funding commitment from each level of government as well as the private sector is to invest in WEE-specific projects each year over a period of five year.
The DRPC said this should also apply to subsequent plans such as the National Medium Term Development Plan 2026-2030 and Agenda 2050.
On the issue of lack of attention given to women in some critical sectors such as mining, solid minerals and creative sector, MDAs should ensure that projects and programs to be designed address the challenges of women working in these sectors. This also applies to women in other sectors such as science, commerce and industry.
He said the government should ensure the production of a gender audit of the implementation of the plan every year and should always upload the progress report of the implementation of the national development plan online to ensure easy access. unimpeded access to information on the implementation of the plan in a simplified and user-friendly way, including the availability of a full report of the plan.
He stated that there was a need for transparency, accountability and careful management of all resources coming from the plan from all sources and the need for continuous capacity development (training and retraining) of MDAs on the gender audit.
The state government should avoid sabotage of the funding of the LGAs and allow them to perform their functions as mandated by the 1999 constitution.
According to the DRPC, this is to enable the LGAs to implement programs and projects on the WEE at the local level in line with the national development plan 2021-2025.
He said Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) should conduct high-level advocacy for MDAs implementing the WEE and strive to engage the National Assembly on how much to spend on the WEE.
He advised CSOs to raise awareness for the full implementation of the NDP 2021-2025 and also monitor the implementation and simplify the document for effective understanding by the average Nigerian woman.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has also called for the socio-economic empowerment of Nigerian women and girls to achieve the desired high economic growth in the country. Ahmed said, “The economic and social empowerment of women and girls is critical to our collective vision of a prosperous and resilient Nigeria.
“It is therefore imperative that we prioritize the advancement of women in all spheres of society, and especially in areas related to their socio-economic empowerment.
“If we are to have a stronger and more inclusive economy, it is crucial that we take a long-term strategic approach to ensuring women’s economic empowerment.
“Global research shows that despite their contributions, many women remain economically deprived. Women are particularly vulnerable to poverty and are more likely to be affected by poor service delivery and instabilities. She called for the development and implementation of gender-responsive and inclusive policies, regulatory frameworks and programs.
“And we must remove the socio-economic and cultural barriers that prevent women from fully participating in society and reaping the economic benefits of their participation.
“This is particularly important given the evidence that gender-neutral policies are often applied in ways that exclude and disenfranchise women stakeholders and other vulnerable communities,” she said.
According to the Minister, the economic empowerment of women and girls “is a necessary engine for the development of our country”. She said her team embraced gender responsive budgeting in preparing the recently approved 2022 budget.
“The measure has been taken, after months of consultations with stakeholders, with the support of the International Monetary Fund.
She added that the Budget Office would work with MDAs on the implementation of gender responsive budgeting provisions, initially focusing on sectors that have been considered critical to human capital development, including health, education and humanitarian affairs.
She called for partnership between different levels of government, CSOs and the private sector, urging all stakeholders to pay more attention to women’s empowerment in the country. “By empowering women economically and ensuring their full participation in society, especially in leadership and decision-making roles, we can ensure better economic development outcomes for all,” she said.
According to Mrs. Mercy Adeojo, Founder of Women Strengthening Women in Nigeria, an official non-profit community interest organization, dedicated to women across the country, to empower women economically enabling them to increase their right to resources economics and their control. on meaningful decisions that benefit themselves, their households and their communities. Adeojo said these include the right to control their own time, income, and access to participate in existing markets equally, as greater autonomy would improve their well-being and economic status.
She said empowering more women in the workplace translates to better growth in Third World economies because women’s economic empowerment increases economic diversification and boosts productivity and income equality. , leading to further positive development outcomes.
According to her, as an IMF study shows, “policies that improve access to educational opportunities and financing for women can contribute to a reduction in inequalities and an increase in economic growth for the developing country. She said that providing women and girls with more educational opportunities contributes to lower fertility rates and higher labor force participation rates, as well as better quality of human capital of the future economy and generation.

By: Rachael Abujah
Abujah writes for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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