By Ignatius Ushie
In its bid to create a niche in the supply and value chain of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, the National Centre for Women Development, NCWD, has launched the Nigerian Women for Liquefied Petroleum Gas Project to mobilise as well as promote awareness on the acceptability, availability, accessibility, affordability and mostly empower women on the distribution of the product.
Speaking during the official launch of the project at the Banquet Hall of the centre in Abuja, the Director General of NCWD, Barr Mary Ekpere- Eta stated that women are the biggest users of LPG but were not generally involved in the supply chain and not empowered in the economies of the LPG business.
Ekpere- Eta said that evidence has shown that fear of LPG safety, stress of refilling and high cost of connection beyond communities’ affordability were some of the factors that have prevented the adoption, penetration and sustained use of LPG by women in Nigerian households.
She noted that it was in this regard and in line with the mandate of the federal government’s empowerment and LPG Distribution programmes that the centre in partnership with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has created a platform to empower and promote women’s groups economically and improve their livelihood through the Nigerian Women LPG Project.
“As you are aware the National Centre for Women Development, NCWD, is the lead Federal Agency for women empowerment in Nigeria. This is why our partnership on this project is critical to improving women’s livelihood, survival, clean environment as well as pulling millions of households out of poverty in line with the National Economic Sustainability Plan.
“In view of the foregoing, to achieve this we intend to have and use the scheme as a platform to mobilise and educate women on how the uses of LPG can improve their livelihoods,” she informed.
NCWD boss disclosed that a massive door to door campaign and distribution of safe to use LPG cans would be distributed through the Women Development Centres, WDCs, by creating kiosks at the 774 Local Government Councils to serve as Micro Distribution Centres and the first phase of this project will be targeting the following states: Katsina, Sokoto, FCT, Plateau, Adamawa, Borno, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Imo and Ogun states.
She added that the partnership would be of benefits to the Nigerian women and youths as it supports the efforts of FG in achieving its 2023 sustainable energy targets which is targeted at reaching at least 99 million women and Nigerian households within 3 years, cutting across 120 political units and 8000 political wards in the 774 Local Government Areas in the federation.
Similarly Coordinator United Nations, UN, Resident and Humanitarian, Edward Kallon stated that the Nigerian economy was yet to create opportunity for shared growth, produce decent jobs and reduce poverty on a large scale especially for women folks noting that available statistics has shown that fewer women were working in the oil and gas value chain.
Kallon noted that addressing gender imbalance matters if the oil and gas sector was to deliver stronger economic and broader development goals for the country.
“I am calling on the government and other relevant actors to drive nondiscriminatory employment practices, increase access to capacity building, financing initiative, and engaging women in community consultations as well as decision- making positions, equipping them to actively participate in and benefit from the economic potential within the various LPG value chain,” he added.
Also Deputy Chairman House Committee on Women Affair and Social Development Barr Vincent Ofumelu said that the project would be given due attention to provide, recognize and value unpaid care through the provision of infrastructure so as to end all discrimination against women and girls in the country.