Nigerian Author and researcher Cheluchi Onyemelukwe shared her experience working with the UN Women. She shared that It was insightful to work with UN Women on affirmative procurement with a focus on the national level, Lagos and Kaduna States, reviewing the legal, policy and regulatory framework at the federal level and in both States, as well as conducting a gender assessment of the key institutions earlier this year.
In Nigeria and worldwide, women-owned/led businesses participate minimally in public procurement. By many accounts, these businesses get less than one per cent of Public procurement contracts. The reasons for this are myriad, with both demand and supply side barriers.
The legal framework provides the foundation for public procurement and is a key factor for consideration. It dictates the criteria for Public procurement, including value for money, expertise/competence etc. However, it is often neutral/blind, failing to address key issues that limit segments of society from participating, thereby inadvertently limiting the pool of suppliers with negative consequences for the procurement process and gender equality.
Cheluchi Onyemelukwe shared that it was interesting and insightful to get key staff perspectives at different levels of procurement agencies. At the same time, they also get perspective from stakeholders in other agencies. These include:
- The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)
- The Kaduna State Public Private Agency,
- The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation
- The Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services, amongst others.
She expressed her gratitude to the Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority and Lagos State Public Procurement Agency teams for their support and time throughout this important research.
She further hoped that the well-received report would support positive change across the country in the direction of at least questioning the status quo and addressing the barriers limiting the participation of women-owned/led businesses, youth-led businesses, etc., in public and private procurement.
Thank you to the Zamani Foundation for the warm welcome and support in Kaduna. Many thanks to UN Women and Dr Emeka Onyimmadu, the National Economist, for technical support.