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Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 era

Nigerian women in leadership have consistently displayed their competence in their various spheres of influence and career pursuits.

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Against a mountain of odds, Nigerian women are taking leadership roles in various sectors – private or public, and in business. These roles have seen them contributing tremendously to shaping a more equal future and fast-tracking the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their voices have been loud on several issues including the elimination of gender-based violence (particularly as it affects women and girls), gender equality, women empowerment, equal pay for equal work, and a better appreciation for the roles that women play in the home.

Although Nigerian women in leadership have consistently displayed their competence in their various spheres of influence and career pursuits, they remain poorly represented in government. Statistics show that female representation in government has over the years, remained under 7%, a far cry from the 30% affirmative action advocated at the fourth world conference on women in Beijing, and the 35% affirmative action advocated by the existing National Gender Policy (NGP).

Research has shown that despite the galvanized efforts of both governmental and non-governmental institutions, certain obstacles have kept the percentage of female political office holders low. Chief among these impediments is the patriarchal mindset which is nearly as old as the human society itself. The idea that women are to be seen and not heard, relegated to the affairs of the home, is unfortunately still upheld by many in our society and even heralded by some notable figures in leadership positions.

Another contributing factor is stigmatization and the notion that women who have achieved greatness in their chosen fields of endeavour must have done so by offering sexual favours as tradeoffs to their male counterparts in positions of authority.

Discriminatory religious and social norms, pressure from the homefront, increased spates of rape and other forms of violence against women, poor access to education and empowerment initiatives, lack of adequate support from fellow women and inadequate financing are some other factors affecting female representation in the Nigerian political space and indeed, in other sectors of the economy.

Many of these challenges that women face have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative economic impact. Women have had to grapple with the loss of their businesses and increased demand for their time and other resources. Some have been exposed to greater threats of violence from within and outside their homes, often without much hope for justice. These challenges have heightened the hurdles that women must overcome to rise and take their place in society, and they deserve the urgent attention of the government, human rights activists and other stakeholders.

Nigeria needs to show the political will to implement legal frameworks for increased female participation in leadership. Access to justice and the enforcement of legislation that protects the rights of girls and women remain crucial to the full attainment of the potential of Nigerian women in business, politics and other spheres of leadership.

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Equally important, is the enactment of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, which was first presented to the National Assembly over a decade ago. Political parties must also adopt reforms for more inclusive nomination processes and elections into leadership positions.

SSKOHN

While negative stereotypes such as patriarchy can be difficult to change or erase, women rights activists can leverage both the traditional and new media to turn the tides around using inter-generational and youth-led approaches to transform how people think about gender. Certainly, the future is better with women at the table.

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CIFI: Despite CBN funds, can the creative industry thrive in this environment?

The Nigerian technology ecosystem is at its nascent stage, and beyond money, there is the need to ensure an enabling environment for operators.

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Despite a frail 2020 for the Nigerian economy, there was a bit of silver lining. The Nigerian Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) sector emerged as the leading segment of the economy aiding the country’s exit from recession by a whisker in Q4 2020.

The development, in effect, justifies to some extent, the earlier decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to create the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) to support businesses in the following areas:

  • Fashion
  • Information Technology
  • Movie Production and Distribution
  • Music

The CBN began to contemplate the idea of the CIFI following the influx of private investment into the technology space in 2019. For instance, according to the African Tech Start-ups Funding report for 2019, Nigeria got foreign exchange inflows totalling US$137.9m in the period.

This continued into 2020, considering that despite the pandemic, the sector still attracted an additional US$122m in seed funding. Furthermore, the sector contributed 13.12% of the total real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria which came to N19.53tn as of Q4 2020.

Evaluating the progress made so far with the CIFI, as of Q3 2020, the CBN had reportedly disbursed c. N3.12bn in intervention to 320 beneficiaries. While there are concerns around the tenor of the loan for Software Engineers and accessibility of funds to other technological entrepreneurs, we laud the CIFI and encourage relevant agencies to do more.

The Nigerian technology ecosystem is at its nascent stage, and beyond money, there is the need to ensure an enabling environment for operators. For instance, the recent BVN concerns that rocked the financial technology space and the regulatory uncertainty which is a key risk for telecommunication operators among other concerns, are issues that should be decisively dealt with.


CSL Stockbrokers Limited, Lagos (CSLS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. CSLS is a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange

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Book of States 2020: Vast resources, low industrial development

State governments have been heavily reliant on FAAC distribution to meet recurrent expenditure, thus making no room for capital spending. 

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Oil Price Crash: Governors to meet on budgetary and economic issues, Insecurity: Governors to meet on Wednesday over rising insecurity
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The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) in a recent report titled “Book of States 2020” highlighted the investment prospects of the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to steer attention to the subnational investment opportunities in Nigeria. We note that the report is an outcome of a partnership between the commission and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to showcase the key investment opportunities for each state.

The report focused on the key areas of physical capital (airports, railway stations and seaports), resources (natural and minerals) and demography (population and labour force) of each state including their Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs), budget spending and household consumption.

While we acknowledge the decrepit infrastructure as a major hindrance to the growth of businesses and economic prosperity of many states, we note the little emphasis placed by the states on financing capital projects to attract private sector investments. Over the years, state governments have been heavily reliant on FAAC distribution to meet recurrent expenditure, thus making no room for capital spending.

The truth is that as long as state governments do not make desperate efforts to develop their internal revenue-generating capacity, the states in the country would continue to operate an inefficient rent collection system where they rely solely on FAAC allocation to meet basic needs such as paying workers’ salaries.

In our view, we believe the efforts to revive the ailing status of many states depend on the effectiveness and soundness of policies made to propel investments. Currently, Nigeria has enormous potentials to improve tourism given its ample amount of resources to attract both local and international tourists. Many countries in the continent such as South Africa, Kenya and Morocco have made great fortunes from tourism.

Over 50% of the states have recorded no foreign direct investments over time due to little or no requisite infrastructure needed to attract capital inflows amid untapped resources in these affected regions. Also, we believe the Federal Government needs to relax its control on some of the state-owned resources to enable the states better exploit these resources.


CSL Stockbrokers Limited, Lagos (CSLS) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. CSLS is a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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