Recognising that Nigeria is contending with increasing fiscal and domestic revenue constraints, the federal government is prioritising fiscal policies and reforms aimed at not only providing short and medium-term relief but also at sustainably addressing the longstanding challenge of domestic revenue mobilization.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, in her Goodwill Message at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) International Day Commemorative event themed, ‘Gender Equality Today for A Sustainable Tomorrow.’
She said, “The economic and social empowerment of women and girls is critical to our collective vision of a prosperous and resilient Nigeria.
“If we are to have a stronger and more inclusive economy, it is crucial that we take a long term and strategic approach to ensuring that women are economically empowered. We must continue working towards the development and implementation of policies, regulatory frameworks, and programmes that are inclusive and gender-sensitive; and we must remove the socio-economic and cultural barriers that prevent women from participating fully in society and from reaping the economic benefits of their participation.”
Ahmed said that funding and gender sensitive fiscal policies are critical, as are credible disaggregate data and impact monitoring and evaluation.
She stated that the government is also prioritizing work towards improving internally generated revenue, blocking tax leakages, creating new tax sources, and promoting effective tax collection.
According to her, this is being achieved in part through continued implementation of the Strategic Revenue Generation Initiative (SRGI), and through continued incremental fiscal reforms via the introduction of annual Finance Bills, as well as reducing administrative inefficiencies and lowering the overall cost of governance.
“Through the implementation of the annual Finance Acts, we are providing tax relief and other support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of which are women-owned,” she said.
Additionally, the recently finalized medium term National Development Plan (NDP), she also stated, was developed with a gender lens, as will be the long term NDP currently being finalized.
“We at the Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning, are focusing on comprehensive gender mainstreaming across fiscal policy and public financial management. This wholistic approach represents a critical paradigm shift towards systematic and scalable reforms, and leverages the coordination benefits of having the finance, budgeting and planning functionalities under the same federal ministry for the first time in Nigeria’s history.
Ahmed also stated: “The interventions include gender responsive budgeting, and assessments of the gender responsiveness of key fiscal interventions (including fiscal stimulus packages) with specific commitments aimed at improving the safety, livelihoods, and economic status of women and girls.
Stating further, she said: “We have formally introduced a gender lens for our national budgets, with an express provision in the 2022 Budget Call Circular mandating the use of gender responsive budgeting in the preparation of the national budget.
Ahmed noted that the county is developing an Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) to strengthen our planning processes; and strategically identify and mobilize the resources required to finance our most recent medium and long term development plans.
“We are committed to ensuring that the INFF is gender responsive, in line with overall government commitments around gender responsive national development planning and financing.
She concluded that women’s social and economic empowerment remains critical to ensuring inclusive, resilient, and sustainable development in Nigeria, and to achieving a shared goals as a nation. “By empowering women and girls, and promoting their full participation in society (particularly in leadership and decision-making roles), we will be ensuring improved economic development outcomes for all.