A Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) have advocated for the removal of impediments from public procurement processing to enable women to participate in contract bidding.
Miss Ifeoma Onyebuchi, Programme Director, PPDC, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
Onyebuchi said that if the social-cultural economic constraints that impeded women were removed particularly in procurement processing, it would have a spillover effect not only on women’s financial capabilities but also in their political participation.
She said that a study was carried out through a project implemented in Kenya, Nigeria and Malawi which brought women together with the aim of fostering open government through women participation in public procurement.
“To this end, an in-depth review of existing laws, policies and government initiatives was undertaken to determine the gaps and make suggestions on best approaches to promote gender equity.
“Findings from the research indicated that women are often sidelined in the public procurement process.
“This is as a result of various factors ranging from lack of access to information, technology, cultural bias and lack of understanding of the contracting process,” Onyebuchi said.
She commended the Ekiti State government for its equal opportunity law of 2013 which gave 30 per cent appointive positions to women.
Onyebuchi advised the Federal Government and the other states to take a cue from Ekiti State.
She further advocated for the reduction and waiver of tax rates on small businesses to help them thrive and bid for contracts.
Mrs Ndidi Okafor from the FCT Independent National Electoral Commission (FCT-INEC) lamented that the number of women participating in politics was decreasing.
Okafor said that in the 2019 elections, only a woman was elected as councillor in the six area councils of the FCT.
She said women should arm themselves with wisdom, education finance and technology so that they would be able to match the men thereby favourably competing with men in the polity.
Okafor also called for capacity building initiatives and programmes to empower informal sector women to form cooperatives.
She called on NGOs and Civil Society Organizations to educate women at the grassroots and dialogue with government to amend laws to apportion certain percentage to women in the contracting process.
Okafor urged government to assist with bidding for contracts and as well.