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Beyond COVID-19: WISTA Nigeria advocates support, opportunities for women entreprenuers in shipping businesses

...Applauds FG, Maritime Industry Regulators for efforts keeping seaports working

What would happen to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) run by women in the shipping sub-sector is a great concern to the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria.
The Association, therefore, has decided to raise the issue of how necessary support can get to women in those businesses, to get them back in place to help the women continue to take care of their responsibilities in society and the home-front when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
However, addressing present realities, WISTA Nigeria, led by its President, Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, commended the worthy efforts of the Federal Government and the Maritime Industry chieftains, who have been in the forefront taking precautionary measures in protecting their workers following the exemption of seaports in the Federal Government’s COVID-19 directives.
In a chat, The WISTA Nigeria President expressed the Association’s support to efforts at sensitising Nigeria’s Maritime Sector and preventing the spread of COVID-19 virus in the seaports and added that, “we are re-assured that the various maritime Agencies and Authorities through the Federal Ministry of Transportation will take measures to ensure that the business of our women will not collapse at the end of the pandemic.”
Therefore, WISTA Nigeria wants industry leaders to be sensitive to the support that such small businesses as catering, chandeling, freight forwarding, inter-border shipping would need to survive the post-economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “We therefore call on industry leaders in addressing the adverse post socio-economic effects, we must not be gender blind in our responses to the pandemic, or else women will carry a disproportionately higher level of economic loss.
“The industry leaders are urged to carry out deliberate human capacity development programs such as education and training of our entrepreneurial women.
“We must not overlook the opportunities which the post Corona virus pandemic present us with to effect systemic changes in the maritime sector that will protect women and reduce the level of burden like this in the future.
“In doing this the big wigs in the industry should consider supporting women in small and medium scale shipping businesses, where women entrepreneurs are relatively more represented.
“In addition to this, there should be more transparency and simplification of public procurement processes to assist women’s businesses in contract awards.
“Our ability to bounce back from this crisis is dependent on theinvolvement of women to rebuild our economy.”
Ezeoke said giving a voice at this time for the businesses owned and run by women in the sector became necessary because support measures that would come up should go beyond female maritime workers who are in formal employment and are paid extra hazard allowance to be at work.
The great concern of WISTA Nigeria, Ezeoke said, is the fact that limited access to credit facility and opportunities would force many female entrepreneurs in the sector to close shop, post COVID-19 global challenge.
She noted that although women stayed back home in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease,  the impact of the lock-down affected gender differently, with conditions that are likely to demand women working harder to get their crippled businesses back in operations.


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