Nigeria has pledged to fully and effectively implement all regional and international treaties and conventions that are aimed at eliminating any form of discrimination against women.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Abubakar, made the pledge on the sideline of the 63rd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, CSW, at the UN headquarters in New York.
The theme of the event is: “Addressing Inequalities and Equity Through Investment in Social Protection Systems for the Empowerment of Women and Girls in Nigeria’’.
Abubakar said: “Nigeria as a member of the UN is committed to the full and effective implementation of goals and objectives of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Optional Protocol thereof.’’
She also pledged Nigeria’s commitment to implement fully and effectively the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, agenda 2030.
According to the minister, Nigeria is also committed to implementing other relevant regional and international Conventions and Treaties, which provide legal framework and a comprehensive set of measures for the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment.
“As you are aware, investments in gender-responsive social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure are critical to tackling economic, social, environmental and demographic challenges, as well as meeting the objectives of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
“Over the years, successive Nigerian governments have made progress in facilitating social protection systems by widening women and girls’ access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
“At present, social protection coverage has increased through massive investments in girl-child education, provision of micro credit facilities for the development of small and medium scale businesses involving women.
“The social protection coverage also covers expanding essential health care coverage for women and girls,’’ she said.
The panel discussed holistic view of different forms and gave insightful perspectives on how inequalities and equity were addressed in Nigeria, with different government agencies making presentations.
Some of the issues discussed include, “’Investing in Building Social Assets and Safe Spaces for Addressing Gender Gaps in Nigeria’’.
Others are “Strategies for Enhancing Women and Girls Access to Public Services and the Social Protection Systems in Nigeria, Harnessing Synergies and Securing Financing Opportunities for the Empowerment of Women and Girls’’.
The minister explained that human capital development was key to the progress of the country.
“In Nigeria, low investment in social protection, education and health over the years could be largely blamed on the mono-economy and the dwindling government resources including high rate of poverty, inflation and by extension the insurgency.
“Under investment in human capital has resulted in half-baked graduates, huge skills gap, unhealthy population, high maternal and child mortality rate, low productivity, high unemployment and low-income among others.
“To address these negative indices and improve investment in human capital, however, the present administration is boosting the drive for non-oil revenue.
“Toward this, the administration has launched a zero-oil economic road map as a way of making Nigeria less dependent on oil, while encouraging investments in other sectors of the economy.
“This no doubt has helped to deliver on the much-needed infrastructure, the social protection programmes and access to public service,’’ Abubakar said.
The minister said Nigeria was recently ranked highest in the banking sector throughout the African continent and could be said to have attained gender parity in the banking sector with three of the bank Chairpersons being women.
She said when women had access to finance in their own names, they tend to spend it on financing their children’s education, family health care, housing, nutrition and on other things that improves their living standard.
According to her, the impact on financial empowerment of women can be much greater than that of men because men are generally far less likely to make those kinds of community and household investments.
Earlier, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Bande, had called for workable plans, practical recommendations and best practices including support that could help to address the challenge of inequalities in Nigeria social investment systems.
Mr Bande said building a stronger, inclusive and more prosperous economy for all Nigerians required collaboration and solutions that could only come from working together.
He also stressed the need to continue to leverage on collective efforts, resources and voices to help achieve the SDGs by 2030.