Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State yesterday in Calabar reassured the people of the state that his government has taken all the necessary actions to prevent loss of jobs in the state as the country battles economic recession.
Giving this assurance at the opening ceremony of a three-day high-level training workshop for gender desk heads in ministries, departments and agencies in the state at the Transcorp Hilton, Ayade said it is no hidden fact that our country is currently experiencing an unemployment challenge.
“The situation is further exacerbated by the present economic recession which has caused many private businesses to fold up across the country. As a government, we must at all levels, take necessary actions to stem the situation if we must avoid the catastrophe of other challenges that may arise from the unemployment situation,” he said.
He disclosed that his administration’s goal in establishing the Calabar Garment Factory, which is reputed to be one of the largest in the world as well as other on-going initiatives are geared towards employment generation for the teeming unemployed youths in the state and wealth creation.
Ayade, who was represented by his deputy, Prof Ivara Ejemot Esu, said: “Conscious of the need to address the hitherto inherent bias against women in employment matters, my administration has dedicated 90 per cent of employments into the ultra-modern Cross River Textile and Garment Factory to women, notably, widows and other vulnerable persons in the society.
“The idea is not to create another inequality in the system, but to balance the present proportion of women to men in the state’s civil service. Going forward, we shall ensure a proportionate engagement of both women and men into all spheres of our state economy.
Ayade said the decision of his administration to create a distinct department on gender was borne out his conviction that all impact of all policies and programmes on women and men should be considered at every stage of policy planning, implementation and evaluation, with a view to promoting equality between both sexes and combating gender based discrimination.
“Building upon the huge attention accorded to gender parity by the immediate past administration, we have taken practical steps to ensure active women participation in all sectors of administration in the state. A great percentage of female appointees hold key and strategic positions in crucial MDAs and I am happy to note that they are so far all performing excellently well,” he stressed.
Earlier in her presentation at the event, the Special Assistant on Gender Development, Helen Isamoh, commended the governor for his commitment to issues of gender development and assured him of total support of all womenfolk in the state.
She said the training would have a huge positive impact on gender mainstreaming in government ministries and departments.
In her goodwill message at the workshop, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Esther Odey, praised the governor for making the 35 per cent affirmative action on women a reality in the state with th appointment of women into key sensitive positions in the state.
She further commended the governor for empowering women in the state stating that his action has gone a long way in addressing gender inequality in the state. The representatives of some international agencies like CUSO, PIND and HFC 360 were actively involved in the workshop.