The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, on Thursday urged government at all levels to formulate more policies that would empower and support women-owned businesses.
The National leader of NACCIMA, Alaba Lawson, made the plea at the SheTrades Commonwealth Project introductory event and workshop in Lagos.
Mrs Lawson lauded the efforts of various organisations in supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, being run by women.
According to her, the population strength of Nigerian women had put them at a vintage position of greatly contributing to the growth of the nation’s economy.
“As a result, they require the right business environment and support to thrive.
“It is worthy of note that the target group under the SheTrades Commonwealth Project is Export Group, particularly the export ready and near export ready Women-owned Businesses (WOBs).
“As we are all aware, Nigerian women make up more than half of our population of 198 million.
“We are also globally recognised as hard working business women and very entrepreneurial is trying to survive in a rather tough and gender-biased environment.
“There are many odds against us, just like many of our counterparts all over the world.
“We require an enabling business environment with incentives, appropriate government policies, information, skills, access to finance and market to succeed in business,” Mrs Lawson said.
She added that if given the opportunity, women entrepreneurs, through unified efforts, would achieve successes in areas hitherto thought to be exclusive preserved for men.
“These areas include alternative energy, recycling, ICT, mechanised large scale agriculture, agribusiness, mining, manufacturing, maritime, oil and gas.
“We have proved the capacity to excel in these areas and we hope we will continue to receive more encouragement.
She applauded the UK Department for International Development, DFID, the International Trade Centre, ITC, and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, for their commitment to increase participation of women-owned businesses in international trade.
The woman leader pledged the association’s support to NEPC as partner in its quest toward achieving the Zero Oil Plan initiated by the Federal Government to promote the non-oil sector and increase exports.
“I am delighted that SheTrades in the Commonwealth Project intends to raise awareness and provide participants with the required tools and information to succeed,” she said.
Lawson hoped that the SheTrades initiative would come up with gender sensitive recommendations for adoption by Federal Government for enhanced economic inclusion of women to national development.
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