The minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on Saturday distributed N12 million worth of packages to 3,300 women across the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State.
Mrs Ahmed explained at the distribution ceremony in Kaduna that the empowerment programme was in collaboration with National Directorate of Employment, NDE, which trained the beneficiaries and Buhari-El-Rufai Support Team, BEST.
She explained that the empowerment included grinding machines, cosmetology starter pack to women who were trained on cosmetics making, and cash to business women to expand their businesses.
She said that women empowerment was key to uplifting the living standard of women, particularly in the northern part of the country who were wallowing in poverty.
According to her, a self-reliant skill, a little financial support and encouragement will go a long way in ensuring financial independence of women, particularly in rural areas.
”Realising that our women are not benefiting from government support, I decided to encourage them to form cooperative societies and together with BEST, we partnered with NDE to train them.
”Today we are giving them starter packs to help them roll out their business and for those with little business we are giving them cash support to expand their businesses.
”This is our way of giving back to our society and put smiles to the faces of women who toil everyday to take care of the family.”
The minister also donated vehicles to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senatorial and House of Representative candidates as well as the campaign organisation in the state.
According to her, the gesture is to help mobilise the people of the state for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Gov Nasir El-Rufai and all APC candidates contesting in the general elections.
She called on women in the state to help mobilise their husbands, children and community members to ensure APC’s victory in the 2019 election for more dividend of democracy.
Mr El-Rufai thanked the minister and BEST for supporting Kaduna state women with source of livelihood to better their lives.
He described the minister’s gesture as the first in the history of state, where a woman remembers her fellow women and takes step to empower them.
He said empowering them was a sure way of achieving socio-economic development.
”This is why we are paying due attention to issues that affect the economic, social, health and general wellbeing of our women.
”We are not only ensuring that they are healthy and educated, but equally equipping them with relevant skills and financial support to live a meaningful life and contribute to social development.”
He said that the state government, through the Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development, is disbursing N200 million as soft loans to women across the state to boost their businesses.
Mr El-Rufai added that the amount would be increased to N400 million this year and to N800 million if re-elected.
He urged the women and people of the state to vote for APC in the general elections.
Aisha Buhari, who was represented by the wife of Nasarawa State Governor, Mairo Al-makura, urged women of the state to give 100 per cent support to APC and advised them against selling their votes.
Director-General, NDE, Nasir Ladan, thanked the minister for her passion towards supporting the women of Kaduna State with the package to live a quality life.
Mr Ladan, who was represented by the North West Zonal Director, Malam Abubakar Nuhu, appealed to the beneficiaries to make the best use of the items.
BEST Chairman Gambo Kurfi said that the team would continue its village-to-village, house-to-house and door-to-door campaign to ensure the reelection of Buhari and El-Rufai.
Some of the beneficiaries thanked the minister, NDE and BEST for the support, saying it would add value to their lives.
Amina Mohammed, a mother of six, said she was trained on how to make cosmetics, adding that the start-up pack would help her put the acquired skills to financial use.
Victoria Yakubu, a business woman, said the financial support would boost her business of buying and selling grains, improve profit margin and make more money for the family.