By Daniel Adaji
The National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), has lamented the slash in the budget for Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) from N103 billion in 2022 to N58 billion in the 2023 Appropriation Bill.
The NCWS made this known at a press conference held at the headquarters of the NCWS in Garki, Abuja on Wednesday, November 9, 2022 to address the 56 per cent reduction in the proposed 2023 budget.
The issue of concern is the poor funding and low priority
The National Chairman of NCWS, Hajiya Lami Adamu Lau, lamented the reduction, “Our core objective is promoting the economic and social welfare of women and girls in Nigeria. The issue of concern is the poor funding and low priority given to women’s economic empowerment in the 2023 proposed budget estimates.
The allocation to WEE in the 2022 budget was N103 billion. In the 2023 budget, the allocation to WEE is N58 billion. This is a reduction of 56% of the budget line for women’s economic empowerment year 2022. In this year, 2022 a total of 164 MDAs put in WEE activities into the budget. But for 2023 only 51 MDAs are having any activities to do with Women’s Economic Empowerment. In the 2022 budget the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs received N19 billion or 18.19% of the budget for women’s economic empowerment. In the 2023 budget the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs was only allocated N2.1 billion or 3.59% of the total budget for WEE.”
A research conducted by the development Research and Project Centre (dRPC) on the proposed 2023 budget, showed that WEE received an allocation of over N51 billion in 2021, N103 billion in 2022 and N58 billion in 2023, which is about 56% in reduction compared to the previous year. A close look at the trend in the budget allocation revealed a constant increase in the budget since 2019, until the proposed 2023 WEE budget which witnessed a sharp decline.
Only 51 MDAs are having any activities to do with Women’s Economic Empowerment
Furthermore, the number of projects had witnessed increase from 275 in 2019 to 938 in 2022 and then reduced to an alarming 122 in the proposed 2023 budget.
According to the research conducted by dRPC, there are several implications of the slash in the budget, among them are the following:
“Despite the reduction in the overall WEE proposed allocation, the funding women/girlsonly WEE proposed allocation increased from N36bn in 2022 to N56bn in the proposed 2023 (54% increase) budget estimate. However, this allocation was largely to fund an obligation to the World Bank in the education sector.
“The Ministry of Education has the highest Funding for WEE in 2023 as a result of the multilateral/bilateral tied loans ‘Adolescent Girl Initiative for Learning and Empowerment Programme (AGILE) Project’ with the sum of N53bn funding commitment in the 2023 fiscal year.
“Several empowerment projects exist in the budget, not disaggregated along with sex. Examples are the Agric Business Development & Empowerment Program with project code ERGP8131877 and ₦99 million funding; Value Chain Empowerment for Persons of Concern with project code ERGP22193290 and N69 million funding commitments, etc. The non-disaggregation of these projects and several others could make it very difficult to establish whether or not they were only meant for men or women.
Hajiya Lami called on all Nigerian women to team up and support active women participation in politics.
She encouraged the women folks to throw their weight behind fellow women who are contesting electoral positions in the country in order to ensure they have their say in government.
The NCWS chairperson also called on government across all levels to help review the proposed 2023 budget to ensure that the WEE is duly considered and adequately funded.
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