The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Zainab Maina has stated that government is constructing 70 Women Skills Acquisition Centers across the country in a bid to fast track economic empowerment of rural women.
To complement this, she also said that a National Grassroots Revolving Loan Fund would be put in place to provide social welfare support to the grassroots.
The Minister who made this known while making a presentation at the on-going 56th Special Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, New York, United States also said that Nigeria was taking giant strides to address poverty and hunger, especially amongst rural dwellers.
“The activities of the Fund will greatly contribute to the success of the Transformation Agenda as well as fast track the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Nigeria”.
Maina, who argued that the grassroots which constitute over 80 percent of Nigeria’s population contribute about seven percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and said, “ the farmers produce about 80 percent of what is consumed in the country hence the government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Women in Agriculture in order to raise the access bar of women to agricultural land, inputs and resources, as well as make them benefit from the Nigeria Inventive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) programme”.
She also reaffirmed the commitment of the President to women to fulfill his campaign promise of giving them the UN-promoted 30 percent Affirmative Action quota.
In her remarks, the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Michelle Bachelet, said that empowering women required a transformation in the way governments devise budgets and make and enforce laws and policies, including trade and agricultural policies, and how businesses invest and operate.