By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.
An entrepreneur and wife of the former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mrs. Grace Ekpenyong has called for more women participation in the key policies and programmes of government at all levels.
Her passion came as Nigeria looks beyond oil to diversify the economy into agriculture and solid minerals.
According to Mrs. Ekpenyong, women as very strategic partners in the economy have major roles to play in the area of manufacturing and packaging agricultural produce for local consumption and export.
Mrs. Ekpenyong who is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Amazing Quality Limited, an agricultural and food processing firm, spoke to journalists in Abak, Akwa Ibom state on the just concluded Export Stakeholders Forum and Exhibition held in Abuja.
The fair oragnised for women entrepreneurs by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) was graced by the wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari; Ministers, Captains of industry and other functionaries of government.
Showcasing her products to the president’s wife during the fair tagged: “Achieving Zero Oil Growth Through Women Inclusiveness in Global Export Trade”, Mrs. Ekpenyong explained that women have the entrepreneurial potentials to aid the economic diversification drive, but lamented that lack of resources and infrastructure combined to limit their efforts.
She therefore asked the Federal Government to lend a helping hand for the women to develop their businesses through grants, adding “loans will only cripple the businesses”.
According to her, “Women are very prudent and resourceful in their businesses. If we are given grants, a lot could be achieved; our businesses will be improved”, she noted.
Ekpenyong, whose firm processes wheat, cassava, beans, cocoyam, yam, plantain, maize, soya beans into flour for local and international markets, assured that the company which has created jobs for many Nigerians, would do more, if given the lifeline.
Other products of the company include moringa seeds and tea for food supplement, wheat bread, natural honey and liquid soaps for the household.
She commended the NEPC, organizers of the forum, which, according to her was the first such expo in Nigeria for women entrepreneurs and stressed the need for events like that to be held regularly so as to discover the hidden potentials in Nigerian women.
Deputy Governor’s wife seeks more women participation in key policies
By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.