Professor Adebayo Advocates Women Inclusion in Public Procurement, Economic Empowerment
The Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, has called for the inclusion of women in public procurement contracts considering the significant representation of women in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and their huge contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.
Professor Adebayo made this call while giving his opening remarks at the recent RCE Ogun conference hosted by the Department of Banking and Finance, Covenant University. The conference with the theme, ‘Women Inclusion in Public Procurement for Social and Economic Progress in Ogun State, was held at the Covenant University African Leadership Development Centre.
Professor Adebayo said Public procurement in Nigeria accounted for about $5.5 billion annually, adding that the Nigerian Public Procurement Act 2007 established the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as the regulatory authority for the monitoring and overseeing public procurement.
He said that the inclusion of women would be an effective instrument to empower women economically, combat poverty, and ensure sustainable social and economic gains.
Professor Adebayo explained that the key role of the BPP was to ensure the attainment of transparency, competitiveness, cost-effectiveness and professionalism in the public sector procurement system. The Act, he said, determined that procuring entities may grant a preference margin to domestic contractors and suppliers of goods manufactured in Nigeria in the case of international bidding contracts. However, neither the Act nor the Regulations provided preferential treatment for women, he added.
He said there was the need to evolve positive measures and strategies to promote women’s inclusion in public procurement and economic empowerment in Nigeria.
The Vice-Chancellor expressed his delight in knowing that RCE Ogun was dedicated and committed to a paradigm shift in improving society through events of this nature to help bridge the gender inequality gaps in the public procurement sphere.
“As an institution, Covenant is pleased to organise this programme as part of our contribution towards inclusiveness in the socio-economic development of Ogun State,” he added.
The Director, Consulting and Financial Advisory, CPA Partners, Princess Adetutu Wuraola Omisore, representing the Keynote Speaker, Chief (Mrs) Alaba Lawson, said that women formed 65% of small-scale traders in Africa. According to her, small scale trade was known as petty trading in Nigeria, which hindered the capacity to meet the requirement of large government contracts. She added that limited education and exposure subdued knowledge of procurement opportunities and their procedure.
Princess Omisore lamented that women suffered a setback for lack of access to human, financial and social capital; they appeared to be in less-profitable sectors, such as retail sales and services and seemed to have more family and care responsibilities.
In her recommendations for the inclusion of women in Public Procurement, Princess Omisore said emphasis must be made on gender-responsive procurement in selecting goods and civil works/services.
Government, she said, must take into consideration the impact of gender equality to aid women empowerment. “Women can bring innovation to the services and products provided by the government. They should ensure that services are designed to benefit women and society,” she added.
The representative of the Keynote Speaker, who described Covenant as “one of the best Universities in the world and a citadel of learning with repute”, appreciated the Chancellor of Covenant, Dr David O. Oyedepo, “whom God has used immensely to ensure that we achieve excellence most especially as women”.
Earlier in her welcome remarks, the Chair, RCE Ogun, Dr Patience Tunji-Olayeni, was delighted to welcome the participants and speakers to the event. She stated that RCE Ogun was one of the 179 regional centres of expertise in the world.
She said that RCEs were set up as learning hubs that helped translate the SDGs at the grassroots so that, collectively, they could deliver the SDGs in the shortest possible time.
Dr Patience-Olayeni pointed out that the event’s focus was on Goal 5 of the SDGs - gender equality - which the event’s theme represented. She said that organisers premised it on the background that about 1 billion dollars went into public procurement globally every year, and less than 1% of women-owned businesses benefitted.
Consequently, she said, the women for public procurement aimed to create advocacy for women inclusion in public procurement to enhance women’s businesses and ultimately improve their households’ economic and social conditions.
Also at the event were other dignitaries and senior faculty and staff of the University.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo (middle, front row) with distinguished guests and organisers at the RCE Ogun/Department of Banking and Finance Conference.