Lagos, UN Collaborate To Empower Women

In a bid to boost the economic fortunes of women-owned businesses in Lagos, the State Public Procurement Agency, in collaboration with UN Women, has organised a two-day training programme for procurement specialists in the State.

The two-day Procurement Specialists Training programme, held at Dover Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos was aimed at strengthening the capacity of public institutions to formulate and implement affirmative procurement policies and increasing awareness and understanding on affirmative procurement principles.

The training programme was also designed to highlight areas of engaging policy makers towards supporting women-owned enterprises in the State.

While welcoming participants to the programme, the Director-General of the Agency, Mr. Fatai Idowu Onafowote, pointed out that the collaboration of the Agency with the UN Women on the training programme would facilitate the empowerment of women-owned businesses to enable them to benefit more from public procurement in the State.

He expressed appreciation to the UN Women and its partners on the laudable initiative which, he said, was in tandem with the objective of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s Administration in the State to operate an inclusive Government in which women and other vulnerable groups could enjoy opportunities in Government through participation in public procurement.

He, therefore, stressed the commitment of the Agency to working with the UN Women in designing and implementing strategies for enhancing the economic empowerment of women-led businesses in the State through affirmative procurement.

In a paper delivered at the two-day event, the UN Women Programme Specialist, Dr. Chukwuemeka Onyimadu, identified some of the challenges usually encountered by women in business. The challenges, according to him, include lack of education, lack of access to relevant information, lack of capital, the complexity of the processes involved in public procurement, delays in payment, sexual harassment, and gender-based violence among others.

He, therefore, underscored the need for increased sensitisation in public procurement and the adoption of gender equity in public procurement to enable more women-owned businesses to benefit more from public procurement in the State.

Also in her presentation at the event, Mrs. Andidiong Okon of the Open Contracting Partnership, explained that the gender-inclusive open contracting approach could influence and change power dynamics in favour of gender equity and inclusive growth.

She also pointed out that publishing information about planning, tender, award, contract and implementation in public procurement would help in demystifying the process, thereby empowering businesses through access to information.

She enjoined organisations to make a commitment to gender equity, develop strategies for gender-responsive procurement and make their contracting process open.

Mrs. Patience Ekechukwu, the Coordinator of the programme, thanked participants at the programme for their contributions and assured the Agency of the commitment of the UN Women towards working with the State Government to ensure increased participation of women-led businesses in public procurement in the State.

The Registrar of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN), Alhaji Mohammed Aliyu, Procurement Officers from the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency and some selected Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State participated in the two-day training programme.

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo also participated in the opening ceremony of the training programme.

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