The Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Commerce, Mrs. RoseMary Archibong (Esq) made this assertion at the Business Network Forum organized by GAIN/SUN at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos on June 30, 2021.
The theme of the event: “Business Through A Gender Lens” sought to analyze the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and efforts adopted by some State Governments and other stakeholders in addressing them.
Speaking from the Cross River State perspectives, Mrs. Archibong mentioned some policies and projects put in place by the digital Governor, Prof. Ayade, which though not gender specific, but are advantageous to women entrepreneurs who form a good proportion of the Small Business Owners.
She explained that the Anti Tax Agency which enforces tax exemption for small businesses; the State MicroFinance Bank with 5 percent interest rate; the Smart City Infrastructure which provides a data of registered businesses in the State (separating women owned SMEs); the 27 KVA Power Plant which is meant to provide uninterrupted power supply in the Calabar metropolis; the Construction and Fabrication Academy which would fabricate basic equipment for farming entrepreneurs and other small scale manufacturers/food processors; among other interventions are geared towards creating a more productive business environment.
She further stated that, the program of the wife of the Governor, Her Excellency, Dr (Mrs.) Linda Ayade called Cross River Women Emancipation Initiative (CROWEI) working with the Ministry of Women Affairs, organizes capacity training programs to improve skills especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises among women entrepreneurs.
Continuing, Mrs. Archibong mentioned that, the State also connects with Intervention Programs of the Federal Government and International Agencies especially in the Agrobusiness, food security, trade, and other non-oil enterprises with emphasis on women and youths.
The Commissioner pointed out that since the State is Maritime, her Ministry works closely with Women in Exports, CALCIMA, the Nigerian Export Processing Council, to train entrepreneurs on export readiness, packaging and documentation procedures particularly women and youths.
To showcase the Governor’s gender sensitivity, the Commissioner posited that he appointed women to drive key business and entrepreneurship sectors such as: the Special Adviser, Enterprise Development and Funding; the Special Adviser, Communty Enterprise Development; the Director General Investment Promotion Bureau; Commissioner for Commerce among others.
Other panelists at the event include the Commissioner for Commerce, Plateau State; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget & Economic Planning, Kebbi State; Chairman of Kano State Chamber of Commerce among others.