Government to raise N108bn for women empowerment

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The Minister for State Finance and Budget Planning, Clem Agba, has revealed that the Federal Government planned to establish a basket fund to collect donations for gender equality and women empowerment initiatives in the country.

According to him, the move is aimed at furthering the government’s commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women

He disclosed this on Thursday at the institutional support for government-donor joint funding facility on gender equality and women empowerment meeting in Abuja.

Agba disclosed that an estimated investment of N108bn (approximately US$250m) would be required to address issues such as gender-based violence, which had assumed a significant dimension in Nigeria.

“It is imperative to underscore the urgency of a gender equality and women empowerment joint intervention funding that will serve as a basket fund to address such issues as Gender Based Violence (GBV) that has assumed significant dimension and which is often not reported due to stigmatisation.

“Suffices to reiterate for the umpteenth time that at the moment, an estimated investment of about N108bn (approximately US$250m, taking into consideration of a 17 per cent inflation.”

He, however,  acknowledged the United Nations Development Programme for supporting and fast-tracking the development process of the strategic framework for gender equality and women empowerment.

The minister noted that there were plans to coordinate funding for gender-related issues across various government ministries in Nigeria, adding that different aid groups and embassies were often providing duplicate support to certain areas and states, leading to coordination challenges.

Agba added that funding would be directed to different ministries depending on the nature of the initiative.

“There are initiatives that must come from justices, so the funding for that would go to justices. There are things to do with health, and the funding will go to the experts in health. And there are things to do with education, and there are funds that we necessarily need to give to the Ministry of Women Affairs,” he said.

Agba added that the Finance Ministry would act as the coordinator of government activities, but it would not be the implementing ministry. Instead, he said, “We are trying to put all these monies in the basket because we find out that different donor groups and embassies are duplicating the support that they give, maybe in a particular area and state. So we want to have a better coordination mechanism so that we all get to see in the basket what we want to achieve, and the money is distributed across the various ministries that are involved in the women-related issues.”

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