The economic empowerment of women is one of the most fundamental components of achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment more broadly.
However, focusing on women’s economic empowerment alone will not automatically lead to enhanced gender equality: there is a need to also address wider elements of power imbalances in society and look into the root causes of inequalities. The unequal distribution of unpaid care work is one example of this, and it’s holding back progress on this front.
In addition, there is a need to understand how policies and programs can create unintended negative impacts and additional barriers for the most vulnerable and marginalized women and girls.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Talen, disclosed on Wednesday that the Buhari-led Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved an empowerment policy for women in the country, expressing the hope that the new policy, WEE, would help bring about optimal development in the country.
According Talen, “The WEE Policy is Women Economic Empowerment. It is a policy dialogue that we’ve been working on for over one year.
”We’ve traversed all around the country to the 36 states, having dialogues with the private sector, rural dwellers, to find the best way to empower women and get them into the mainstream of nation-building.
“You’ll agree with me that women constitute over 50 per cent of the population and the surest way to national development is to involve the total population of the country.
”If 50 per cent of the population is neglected, it means the country cannot develop optimally; it’s like a country walking with one leg.”
The minister, who thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving his nod for the policy to be birthed, noted that it had been a long-time dream to have such a policy in place because of the importance of women in the society.
“This has been a dream we’ve been pursuing and finally yesterday, Mr President gave the stamp, it is a legacy that President Buhari is leaving behind by approving this Woman Economic Empowerment to help get women into the mainstream of financial plans to ensure that women are carried along in nation building,” she added.
Also addressing correspondents on the outcome of the extraordinary meeting of the council, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, revealed that the council approved the publishing of laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
According to Mr Malami, a South African company will handle the publication periodically.
He said: “As you are aware, there was a second extraordinary meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) that was held on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
”Three FEC memos were presented by the Office of the Attorney General for the Council and the three memos were taken, deliberated upon and approved.
”The first memo that was taken was a memo to the regularization of the Public Private Partnership arrangement between the Federal Ministry of Justice and Lexis of South Africa.
“And it has to do with the publication of the laws of the Federation of Nigeria and all materials of the law. This is about publication of the compendium of laws of the Federation.
“In 2003 and 2005, there was an agreement entered into between the Ministry of Justice and a company in South Africa, which contract has to do with continuous publication of the laws of Nigeria having been compiled as a book for 15 years.
“Now, that contract was meant to be a rollover contract, so that by way of a sustainable arrangement, we will be having a compendium of laws of the federation published periodically.”
According to the minister, with the council’s approval, the country will have a continuous publication of the laws of the Federation of Nigeria, in the form of a book, and in a way, and manner that will conform to the quality and indeed international best practices associated with the quality.
Mr Malami also disclosed that the Council approved the standardization of the use of discretion by lawyers to protect the nation’s interest in international cases.
According to him, the new move will help check the insertion of clauses that are injurious to Nigeria in international agreements or contracts.
“The Second memo is a memo relating to operationalization and deployment of the government’s contracts administration system.
”When we came into office, we inherited an award liability of around $10 billion against the Nigerian government arising from the purported breach of a contract, which is popularly known as P&ID.
”And then our assessment of the contract is the fact that a lot of discretion on the part of the lawyers responsible for vetting government contracts was underrated, which discretion now resulted in some level of overlooking of the major clauses that will have at the end of the day, provided some level of protection to the interest of the Nigerian government.
“So with that unfortunate situation in mind, the need has arisen for us to consider the best way that we can minimize the level of discretion being exercised by lawyers, and bring about standardization in line with international best practices.
We therefore urge the urge the Federal Government of Nigeria through its Ministry of Women Affairs, other stakeholder and her partners to reach out to women most in need, often by engaging with grass-roots and civil society organizations.
Particularly marginalized gender groups such as rural women, domestic workers and low-skilled women to enable higher incomes, better access to and control over resources, and greater security, including protection from violence.