Buhari Announces N1.6 Billion Women Empowerment Fund

  • Says N500 billion earmarked for social intervention will make a difference

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has set aside N1.6 billion for empowerment of women

He announced this during his broadcast to the nation to mark his one year in office.

The president said: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the increasing role that our women are playing in revitalizing the agricultural sector.

“Modern farming is still hard and heavy work and I salute our Nigerian women in sharing this burden.

“In this respect I am very pleased to announce that the government will shortly be launching the national women’s empowerment fund, which I have approved to provide N1.6 billion in micro-finance loans to women across the nation to assist in rehabilitating the economies of rural communities, particularly those impacted by the insurgency and conflict.”

Buhari expressed regret that for too long, Nigeria had been a society that neglected the poor and victimized the weak.

He said : “A society that promotes profit and growth over development and freedom. A society that fails to recognize that, to quote the distinguished economist Amartya Sen ‘poverty is not just lack of money. It is not having the capability to realize one’s full potential as a human being.'”

He announced the launching of what he described as ‘by far the most ambitious social protection programme in our history.’

The programme, Buhari said sought to start the process of lifting many from poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunity for people to fend for themselves.

He said : “In this regard, Five Hundred Billion Naira has been appropriated in the 2016 budget for social intervention programmes in five key areas.

“We are committed to providing job creation opportunities for five hundred thousand teachers and one hundred thousand artisans across the nation. 5.5 million children are to be provided with nutritious meals through our school feeding programme to improve learning outcomes, as well as enrolment and completion rates. “