WAIFEM DG tells countries in sub-region to use gender data in national budgets
.Says gender data important in national accounts, budgets
By Udeme Clement
Countries within the West African sub-region have been advised to generate gender disaggregated data, in order to assess, use and analyse women’s Non-market work (NMW) in National Accounts as well as National Budgets.
The Director General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, WAIFEM, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, said this in his keynote address, at the opening ceremony of the course on ‘Gender, national accounts and the economy’, organised by WAIFEM and sponsored by African Capacity Building Foundation, ACBF, in Accra, Ghana.
According to him, such data should be considered crucial in addressing development issues in West African sub-region, hence the need for the workshop.
On the importance of the course, Akpan Ekpo, who is also a Professor of Economics said, “This course has been designed generally to build capacities of national accountants, policy analysts, and development advocates in the collection, analysis, integration of time-series data and statistics on NMW in National accounts and National Budgets. The training will also provide participants the context, methodologies and tools for generating and utilising time-use gender disaggregated data and information on NMW”.
Giving more details on the rationale for the workshop, Prof. Ekpo, who was represented by Prof. Douglas Omotor, emphasized, “Women dominate most of the NMW, which most times are inadequately measured within the central System of National Accounts (SNA) framework. The under-estimation of women’s work within the SNA boundaries of production is partly due to inadequacy of measurement tools, lack of expertise and the neglect of NMW contribution to invisibility of women’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP. A consequence however, to this continuing invisibility is the absence of gender-oriented measures in national budgets.”
He explained, “To date, women’s contribution to the economy is taken as negligible and thus ignored by policy makers when they elaborate the budget, hence the need to increase visibility and demonstrate the importance of NMW to policy makers”.
He pointed out, “The importance of Gender and National Accounts cannot be overstressed. The United Nations through its Beijing Platform for Action (1995), the Millennium Development Goal (2000) and the Sustainable Development Goals (2015) recognised the importance of women in national development. However, mainstreaming the unpaid sector into national accounts has been a daunting challenge especially for developing countries. These very important aspects require policy intervention; this means words need to match numbers, to be able to influence them”.
He went on, “A key area of such policy intervention so identified in the literature is by mainstreaming gender, especially women’s Non-Market Work – “care economy” (Non-market work includes child care, care of the elderly, cooking and voluntary community work, which are activities often regarded as “non-economic”) into poverty reduction strategies. These strategies or policies are a mechanism that will allow the state to introduce change by first integrating the statistically invisible unremunerated work into the System of National Accounts and national Budgets, including Time-Use Studies (UNECA, 2003)”.
Expressing appreciation to the sponsoring institutions, he enthused, “Permit me to first, specifically express our gratitude to African Capacity Building Foundation for the sponsorship and acceptance of our invitation to convene this important workshop. Our extreme gratitude goes to our facilitators who accepted to share their wealth of knowledge and experience with us”.
“Let me most immensely express our gratitude to the President, His Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo, the Government and the people in Republic of Ghana for availing us the hospitable capital city of Accra, Ghana. Our deep appreciation to the Executive Governor, Bank of Ghana, Hon. Dr. Ernest Kwamina Addison; the Management and staff, Bank of Ghana, for the logistic support given to WAIFEM in organising this workshop and their support towards the Institute”.