Centre decries gender disparity in procurement laws, processes
Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), has raised concern over gender disparity in the Public Procurement Act, and processes that discourage women from fully participating in the contract bidding process.
According PPDC, women are often side-lined in the public procurement process by many factors such as lack of access to information technology, cultural bias and lack of understanding of the contract process.
The Project Director PPDC, Ifeoma Onyebuchi, said in Abuja that the recently-signed Procurement Act does not have a clause that gives women a specific quota in the bidding process.
She noted that the Ekiti Procurement Act, for instance, provides a 30 per cent quota for women, saying that such gesture increases women’s interest to participate in the bidding process, and also empowers them economically, and enables them vie for electoral offices.
She explained that the project, “Deepening Women Participation in Procurement Process,” being implemented in Nigeria and Kenya reviews the level of institutional arrangements and policies that inhibit women’s participation.
Onyebuchi said: “The project attempted to ascertain the level of enabling the environment to which Nigerian women across formal and informal sectors can leverage to actively engage in all public contracting processes.”
To further improve women’s participation in public contracting, the project recommended tax reduction or waivers for small businesses to help them thrive and bid for contracts.
It added that there is the need to provide capacity building initiatives and programmes to empower women in informal sector to form cooperatives.
The recommendation also harped on the need for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and civil society groups (CSOs) to educate women at the grassroots with government assisting with bidding for contracts.
It also stressed a need for the government to amend the law to apportion a certain percentage to women in the contracting process, and also provide access to funding opportunities for women to venture into procurement amongst others.
Spokesperson of the FCT Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ndidi Okafor, decried the low participation of women in election process due to lack of funds and argued that if women were given a quota in public contracting, it will enable them to be economically empowered to participate in electoral processes.