The National Council for Women Societies has urged the National Assembly to review the proposed 2023 budget, adding that the budget did not provide adequate resources for women’s economic empowerment.
National President of the NCWS, Lami Lau, made the call, at a press conference on the proposed budgetary allocation for women’s economic empowerment, held in Abuja on Wednesday.
She said the issue of concern was the poor funding and low priority given to women’s economic empowerment in the 2023 proposed budget estimates presented by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on October 7, 2022.
In her speech, Lau noted that women empowerment allocation had dropped by 56% from an allocation of N103 billion naira in 2022 to only a N58billion naira in the proposed 2023 budget.
She further revealed that not only had budgetary allocations for women empowerment reduced, but there were also fewer Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, with plans to organise empowerment programs for women in the 2023 budget.
Lau said, “The issue of concern is the poor funding and low priority given to women’s economic empowerment in the 2023 proposed budget estimates. You will recall that in his presentation to the National Assembly on the 7th of October 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari stated clearly that the budget is designed to harness the potentials of all Nigerian women to enable them to productively contribute to the economy.
“When we at the NCWS reviewed the 2023 budget estimates submitted by Mr. President, we were alarmed to see that despite Mr. President’s commitment to the economic advancement of our women, there is almost no money in the budget to support women.
“The allocation to WEE in the 2022 budget was N103 billion Naira. In the 2023 budget, the allocation to WEE is N58 billion Naira. This is a reduction of 56% of the budget line for women’s economic empowerment in the 2023 budget compared to the budget for the year 2022.
“Not only has the money for women’s economic advancement programs been cut but there are now fewer Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) carrying out WEE programs in 2023 compared to 2022. In this year, 2022 a total of 164 MDAs put in WEE activities into the budget for this year 2022. But for 2023 only 51 MDAs are having any activities to do with women’s economic empowerment”.
The group pointed out that funding for the Ministry of Women Affairs had also been cut from N19 billion (18.19%), of the 2022 budget to N2.1 billion Naira (3.59%) of the total budget, in 2023, for women’s economic empowerment, stating that it was difficult to implement and even monitor projects targeting women, without adequate funding.
Consequently, the group urged the National Assembly to review the budget and also called for adequate and proportionate funding for women in economic activities.