- Department receives “overwhelming” applications for funding
- Funding suspended due to budgetary limitations
FRANCISTOWN: Government is unable to fund applicants for the Gender Affairs Fund despite the many proposals made for it by citizens, a situation which worries Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Edwin Batshu, a great deal.
Addressing the Northern Women’s Exposition last week, Batshu pointed out that although government is willing to empower more women through the fund, limitation of funding was a big impediment for the department.
Since inception in 2015, Women Economic Empowerment through the Gender Affairs Fund has supported over 1000 businesses at a cost of over P134 million, Batshu revealed. The minister noted with concern that although the program was expanded to increase its scope, budgetary limitations hindered leading to proposals being suspended. For the past two years, 3 825 were assessed and P58 million was needed for those approved. “Due to these budgetary limitations, the ministry had to suspend receipts of new proposals. The resumption of the program will be dependent on the availability of funds. Therefore, those who have not benefitted should not despair and keep trying their luck once funds are available,” Batshu told the Northern Women’s Expo.
Despite financial challenges, Batshu said since adoption of the National Policy on Gender and Development in 2015, there have been noteworthy developments including establishment of the National Gender Commission which has started work. “I remain optimistic that the commission will ensure that the policy is effectively implemented, thereby improving the current socio -economic status of women and the girl child,” noted Batshu.