Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, has distributed N12 million worth of packages to 3,300 women across the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State, North-western Nigeria.
Ahmed explained at the distribution ceremony in Kaduna that the empowerment programme was in collaboration with Buhari-El-Rufai Support Team (BEST) and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), which trained the beneficiaries.
The empowerment packages included grinding machines, cosmetology starter packs to women who were trained on cosmetics-making, and cash to business women to expand their businesses.
She said that women empowerment was key to uplifting the living standard of women, particularly in the northern part of the country who were wallowing in poverty.
According to her, a self-reliant skill, a little financial support and encouragement will go a long way in ensuring financial independence of women, particularly in rural areas.
Realizing that our women are not benefiting from government support, I decided to encourage them to form co-operative societies and together with BEST, we partnered with the NDE to train them.
Today we are giving them starter packs to help them roll out their business and for those with little business we are giving them cash support to expand their businesses.
This is our way of giving back to our society and putting smiles on the faces of women who toil every day to take care of the family.
The minister also donated vehicles to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senatorial and House of Representative candidates as well as the campaign organization in the state.
According to her, the gesture is to help mobilize the people of the state for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Nasir El-Rufai and all APC candidates contesting in the general elections.
She called on women in the state to help mobilize their husbands, children and community members to ensure APC's victory in the 2019 election for more dividends of democracy.
Governor El-Rufai thanked the Minister and BEST for supporting Kaduna state women with a source of livelihood to better their lives.
He described the Minister's gesture as the first in the history of state, where a woman remembers her fellow women and takes step to empower them:
This is why we are paying due attention to issues that affect the economic, social, health and general well-being of our women.
We are not only ensuring that they are healthy and educated, but equally equipping them with relevant skills and financial support to live a meaningful life and contribute to social development.
He said that the state government, through the Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development, is disbursing N200 million as soft loans to women across the state to boost their businesses.
El-Rufai added that the amount would be increased to N400 million this year and to N800 million if re-elected.
Nigeria's First Lady, Aisha Buhari, who was represented by the wife of Nasarawa State Governor, Hajiya Mairo Al-makura, urged women of the state to give 100 percent support to APC and advised them against selling their votes.
Director-General, NDE, Dr Nasir Ladan, thanked the minister for her passion towards supporting the women of Kaduna State with the package to live a quality life.
Ladan, who was represented by the North-West Zonal Director, Malam Abubakar Nuhu, appealed to the beneficiaries to make the best use of the items.
Some of the beneficiaries thanked the Minister, NDE and BEST for the support, saying it would add value to their lives:
Amina Mohammed, a mother of six, said she was trained on how to make cosmetics, adding that the start-up pack would help her put the acquired skills to financial use.
Mrs Victoria Yakubu, a business woman, said the financial support would boost her business of buying and selling grains, improve profit margin and make more money for the family.
Source: Voice of Nigeria