The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki has commended the efforts of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria in supporting women in riverine areas.
Saraki made this commendation while addressing executives of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, led by its President, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke, recently.
While applauding the group for their various efforts at providing fishing boats for women in rural areas, Saraki encouraged relevant agencies to partner with WISTA when they are approached as a means of empowering the rural fishing women whose livelihood and transport system depend on maritime.
Her words: “Government’s business is to provide an enabling environment for enterprises to thrive for private sector operators in building jetties, curbing illegal fishing by foreigners and others.”
She further stated that women in the sector should be encouraged to be actively involved in executing relevant contracts for sustainable economic empowerment. “If you cannot change the entire world, change the city,” she told the WISTA executives.
Noting the issue of low percentage granted to female cadets in professional trainings, she encouraged WISTA Nigeria to advocate for increased percentage to be enshrined in the system of Ministries, Departments and Agencies when selecting eligible cadets for various local, regional and international trainings.
The meeting was also part of consultations amid plans to hold the WISTA Nigeria annual luncheon and the Association identified the need for more capacity building, collaborations and strengthening partnerships with relevant individuals and organisations so as to enhance its mandate.
WISTA Nigeria President, Eunice Ezeoke also briefed Saraki on WISTA International’s existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the IMO seeking technical and other assistance for women in the industry given the available data of under representation in key leadership positions.
On the aspect of capacity building pointed out by Ezeoke, Saraki advised women to take advantage of the Cabotage Act with the imminent disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), adding that they could invest in barge operations, fishing or other aspects of maritime businesses.
Other WISTA executives who joined for the visit were; the Secretary WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Chizoba Anyika and WISTA Abuja Coordinator.