The National Council of Women’s Associations urged the National Assembly to review the proposed 2023 budget, adding that the budget did not provide sufficient resources for women’s economic empowerment.

The call was made by Lami Lau, national chairperson of the National Women’s Council, during a press conference on the proposed budget allocations for women’s economic empowerment in Abuja on Wednesday.

She said the concern was the underfunding and economic empowerment of women in the proposed budget estimates for 2023 presented by President Major General (retired) Muhammadu Buhari on October 7, 2022 of less attention.

In his speech, Liu pointed out that the allocation for women’s empowerment has dropped from 103 billion naira in 2022 to 58 billion naira in the proposed 2023 budget, a drop of 56%.

She further revealed that not only has the budget allocation for women’s empowerment been reduced, but also the ministries, departments and agencies that plan to organise women’s empowerment programmes in Budget 2023.

Liu said: “The concern is the underfunding and underprioritization of women’s economic empowerment in the proposed 2023 budget. You will recall that President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech to the National Assembly on October 7, 2022 The statement made it clear that the budget aims to harness the potential of all Nigerian women so that they can contribute productively to the economy.

“When we reviewed the 2023 budget estimates submitted by Mr. President at the NCWS, we were shocked to see that, despite Mr. President’s commitment to improving the economic status of our women, there was little money in the budget to support women.

“The allocation for WEE in Budget 2022 is N103 billion. In Budget 2023, the allocation for WEE is N58 billion. Compared to Budget 2022, the economic empowerment of women in Budget 2023 is N58 billion. The budget line for the right has been reduced by 56%.

“Not only did the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) running WEE projects in 2023 reduce funding for women’s economic development programs, but there are now fewer ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) running WEE projects compared to 2022 . This year, to 2022, a total of 164 MDAs have invested in WEE activities in this year’s 2022 budget. But by 2023, only 51 MDAs have carried out activities related to women’s economic empowerment.”

Funding for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has also been reduced from 19 billion naira (18.19%) in the 2022 budget to 2.1 billion naira (3.59%) in the 2023 total budget for the economic empowerment of women, the organization noted, noting that if there is not enough funding, it is difficult to implement or even monitor programmes targeting women.

The group therefore urged the National Assembly to review the budget and called for adequate and proportionate funding for women’s economic activity.

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