The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to prioritise, promote and empower Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, particularly women-owned ones in the country.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mariam Katagum, said this on the commemoration of the 2023 International Women’s Day celebration organised by the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises on Thursday.
The minister said the theme of the event, ‘DigitAll: Innovation and technology for gender equality’ was most appropriate considering the current global realities, adding that technology had enhanced lives from better communication and facilitation to help connectivity.
“Gender equity is a smart venture; however, involving women in innovation and technology is even much smarter.Collaboration must be done across all government, civil society, private sector and the technical community to ensure that the benefits of digital technology are equally distributed.
“Let me reiterate the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria to prioritise, promote and develop MSMEs, particularly women-owned businesses.
“I am optimistic that the crop of discussions and participants at this event would come up with a set of recommendations that will facilitate the deepening of innovative services.
“To the benefit of women-owned enterprises and to the benefit of the nation at large,’’ Katagum said.
She further noted the event serves as an important reminder of the immense potential that digital transformation holds for accelerating gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“But also of the risk it bears for repeating and amplifying existing patterns of gender inequality.
“As the world is becoming digital, we must ensure that we keep up with the pace and unleash the potential of women and girls to become active agents of change in this transformation,’’ she said.
While reiterating the importance of the internet, Katagum underscored the need for more investments geared toward increasing women’s and girls’ digital literacy and familiarity with technology.
She said this would enable them to participate effectively in the digital economy and gain access to digital services such as education, healthcare, and online banking.
The minister recognised that women-owned enterprises had progressively increased over the years, and urged women to embrace technology and innovation in their businesses.
PUNCH EDITED BY GRACE NAMIJI