By Abiose Adelaja Adams
No fewer than 55 women in Oshodi Local Government Area of Lagos State were on Monday rewarded with items that will promote their various micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
At an event organized by the head of Women Affairs Programme of the local government area, the women were given items such as deep freezers, commercial cooking stoves, gas cookers, in tandem with the development objectives of the donor.
The sponsor, Adedayo Aduke-Thomas head of Women Affairs Department and member of the transition committee of council, said the beneficiaries were nominated based on their economic status. “We choose those who are needy. For instance those selling drinks, we are giving them deep freezers. Those into are into bakery, we are giving the gas cookers. We also have microwave ovens and gas cylinders,” he said.
According to him, women are key to national development and their empowerment is that of the society.
The last national census put Nigeria’s population at about 170 million, with women making up 49 percent of this figure. These women opt out of white collar jobs and are most often into small businesses, as most employers are less inclined to hire nursing mothers and pregnant women.
He added that since most are into small medium scale enterprises, (MSMEs) true empowerment begins with providing them with items that will serve as capital or enhance their businesses. The 2013 National MSMEs survey reported that MSMEs are the biggest employer of labour, having employed 60 million Nigerians and contributing to 48% GDP.
A middle- aged woman and beneficiary, Sade Kasali, said she is excited to receive her gifts as this will help her in bakery.
“I am indeed very grateful to him for doing this. He is using his own personal money but there are many people that after we elect them, they don’t remember us again. But this is very much appreciated. This deep freezer will help me in my trade a great deal,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Bimbo Malik, a fresh graduate from Fountain University Oshogbo, received a gas cooker and sees it as an investment in her future. “I am very glad to receive this. I am looking for a job now, but while I am waiting, this comes handy if I want to start a small business like frying chin chin, plantain chips, it is a good start for me,” she gushed.