The Federal Government   has pledged its commitment to the promotion of gender inclusivity and responsiveness in commodities value chain and export.

The Ministerof Stae for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum made this known at the official launch of Gender Initiative of the Commodities and Export Department (GICED).

GICED was designed by the commodities and export department of the ministry to harness available resources to empower and strengthen women capacity to unleash their potentials in commodities and export trade subsector through impactful programs and activities.

While highlighting the importance of the initiative, amb. Katagum stated that a lot still needed to be done in the area of women empowerment in nigeria

 She stated “Permit me to highlight the importance of such an initiative, not just because I am a woman, but because I am aware that a lot still needs to be done in the area of women empowerment in Nigeria. The female Gender should be equipped and ready to break the glass ceiling and ascend to new positions of power in all spheres of our society, both in the Public and Private Sector”.

The Minister stated that as part of efforts of the Federal Government to promote women participation in business, President Buhari has directed that 45 percent slot         should be given to women in the ongoing   Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund Scheme.

She also advised women to participate in the ongoing Corporate Affairs Commission’s business registration for formalization support to access finance, market and other government initiatives.

 “However, women especially, need to change old mind-sets, develop their capacities and embrace the notion that they are capable of doing what men can do” she stated.

Amb. Katagum urged women  to work harder for  self-development, building capacities, embrace punctuality and actively engage in meaningful programs and activities, without making typical excuses.

In his address, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Nasir Sanni-Gwarzo said the initiative was expected to develop confidence and capacities of women as well as provide avenues for equal opportunities to be harnessed.

Dr Gwarzo added that the initiative would facilitate increased opportunitiues for women to access trade, finace and access to market as well as increase the potentials of women leadersghip in CED.

The Permanent Secretary thanked the ministry’s technical partner, women arise development and humanitarian inititives (WADHI) for its commitment especially in designing a detailed work plan and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which would soon be finalized.

 He therefore urged relevant staff of the Ministry to expedite actions on formalization of engagements with relevant consultants, Technical advisers, partners and donors and technical advisers in order  to strengthen the initiative.

 The Director of Commodity and Exchange Department (CED), Mr Suleman Audu said  the Ministry has a  huge mandate of creating enabling environment for businesses to thrive   and the main recipients of policies and programs  designed especially  for MSMEs were women.

According to him, he initiated the GICED in July after recognizing  the underutilization of women in CED and the need to close  the huge  gap created by lack of female gender participation in relevant activities and programs.

He expressed commitment to work with relevant stakeholders to remove significant barriers for women economic empowerment and increase women participation in trade.

Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa Mrs.

Assistant Director Information

For: DD/ Head Press and Public Relations Unit