23rd September, 2023
The Lagos State Government has been commended for its commitment to the welfare and empowerment of women and other vulnerable groups in the State.
The commendation was given by the UN Women Regional Director, West and Central Africa, Dr. Maxime Houinato, who led a delegation of officials of the organisation to Lagos State to discuss issues relating to affirmative procurement and women economic empowerment with officials of the State Government.
The UN Women delegation which also comprised the UN Women Representative, Mrs. Eyong, the UN Women Deputy Representative, Dr. Lansana Wonneh and the UN Women Programme Specialist, Dr. Chukwuemeka Onyimadu, disclosed that the organisation has decided to fully engage with and partner the Lagos State Government in areas involving women economic empowerment, affirmative procurement and other gender related issues.
The UN Women delegation appealed to the Lagos State Government to allocate a certain percentage of contract awards of the State to women-owned businesses to enhance the socio-economic wellbeing of women in the State.
Speaking during the meeting, the Director-General of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, Mr. Fatai Idowu Onafowote, acknowledged the support and contributions of the organisation towards ensuring women economic empowerment in the State through deliberate public procurement policies.
While noting that the State’s Procurement Law is gender neutral, the Director-General pointed out that the Lagos State Government under Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is very passionate about inclusiveness and economic empowerment of women and other vulnerable groups in the State.
He added that this informed the decision of the State Government to change its Agenda from T.H.E.M.E.S. to T.H.E.M.E.S. Plus so that special attention could be focused on the welfare and wellbeing of women, the youth and other vulnerable groups in the State.
Onafowote listed some areas where the UN Women and the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency had collaborated.
These, according to him, included carrying out a baseline survey of women-owned businesses with a view to determining the opportunities they are currently enjoying in public procurement of the state government; training of procurement specialists on strategies for achieving affirmative procurement and creating avenues for women-owned businesses to benefit from procurement opportunities in the State as well as training, sensitization and enlightenment of 50 women-owned businesses on what they need to do and how they need to do such things to enable them benefit from procurement opportunities in the State.
The Director-General revealed that necessary policy documents on affirmative procurement were still being worked on and developed, adding that stakeholders still had a window of opportunity to make input to make the policy robust.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in the State, Mrs. Olayemi Kalesanwo, who represented the Commissioner of the Ministry at the meeting, expressed appreciation to the UN Women for its support to the State Government on issues relating to the socio-economic wellbeing of women in the State.
She commended the organisation for providing palliatives to support women during the COVID-19 pandemic and for supporting the State Government in combating gender-based violence against women.
The Permanent Secretary assured the UN Women delegation of the continued support of the State Government, stressing that the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has the political will to support the issues being canvassed by the organisation. She noted that the more the number of women that are economically empowered, the better for the society.