Introducing legal reforms to ensure equal rights of women to ownership, inheritance and financial control; with a view to reinforcing their special skills and advantages and leveraging them for immediate and long-term macro-economic gains, at both local and national levels.
Reprioritizing budgetary outlays and official expenditure models with the specific objective of improving gender equality, through the introduction of special schemes and programmes that effectively encourage women’s involvement in entrepreneurial activities.
Enforcing equitable gender participation through the development of focused entrepreneurial activity for women that takes their socio-cultural, legal and economic constraints into account. Policy changes must be initiated to overcome hurdles in the gainful involvement of women in viable enterprises.
Initiating government incentive programmes for existing and emerging enterprises that proactively involve women in different hierarchies. Educating present and future entrepreneurs on the unique business and social advantages they stand to derive from this dynamic group.
Facilitating partnerships between women and financial advisory and support agencies; in a way that compensates for their lack of formal business acumen, experience and access to funding. Fostering partnerships between women entrepreneurs in related sectors to help share expertise and resources.
Instituting effective start-up and ongoing support structures with safety net provisions to provide continuous financial, technical and know-how assistance and minimize failure rates. Ensuring ground level efficacy of such measure through continuous monitoring and survey.
Enhancing accountability on women empowerment issues at both state and federal government levels through unbiased assessment of executive agencies and relevant state-sponsored programmes. Suitably highlighting achievements and deficiencies to enable constructive evolution of such practices.
The complementary policy issues in entrepreneurship education should include increasing women enrolment in schools at all levels especially in the field of agriculture to reduce gender inequality. Budgetary allocation should be made to accommodate more continuing and vocational education.
More seminars/workshops should be sponsored and extended to rural areas to increase women’s capacity to start and grow their agribusiness, prepare sound business plan/feasibility studies and increase their technical and managerial capacity in agribusiness.
Modern processing plants/storage facilities should be installed for women groups on government/private joint partnership basis so that women can process and store farm produce with ease.
The enabling environment in terms of gender-friendly policies, good roads, pipe-borne water and electricity should be provided by the various arms of government.
Cooperatives and women groups should be more formally instituted and encouraged among women to position them strategically to access fund and other inputs with ease.
The government should mandate the commercial Banks to produce more gender-friendly loan packages (low interest rates and more relaxed duration of repayment).
Women should be exposed to the latest agro-technology from time-time to remove drudgery in farming, processing and preservation techniques.
Nigerian women should be encouraged to network more, both at the national and international levels for more exposure, to access fund and export information.
Agro-extensions institutions should be boosted and more women extension agents be trained to reduce women to extension workers ratio and for wider coverage of women agriculturists.
Nigeria’s vision of becoming one of the top twenty leading economies of the world by the year 2020, otherwise known simply as vision 20:20 appears compelling enough to energize its over 155million people (nearly half of which are women) to make the vision a reality. To accomplish this laudable goal, there is an urgent need to pay attention to the development of agro-women entrepreneurs so that they can take their place in family advancement and national economic development.
The government and development/change agencies must not only be prepared to recognize the economic role of the women but must also extend to them the same recognition and facilities as the men are enjoying.
Peter Osalor is a multi-skilled director, chairman of trusts, proprietor and consultant. Peter Osalor has been a successful entrepreneur since 1992 when he formed Peter Osalor & Co and which has since grown to a very large client base with a turnover of millions. He is currently a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Nigeria (ICAN). Peter is also a member of the Chartered Tax Advisors and the Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria (CITN).
He is a business mentor for Princess Trust in the UK. He is a member of the Inter Governmental Committee of ICAN and also a member of BCBC, which represents Black Church Membership of Christians whose responsibility is to ensure that the Christian businesses are not left out in the business opportunities arising from the 2012 Olympic Games In London.