By Mustapha Jallow
The 2nd International Professional Women Conference (IPWC) under the aegis of Society of Women in Taxation (SWIT) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, is underway at a local hotel in Senegambia area, and the three day conference on the said topic is expected to end today.
According to organisers, the theme for the convergence is ‘building professional women leaders for the future’. Organised by SWIT, in collaboration with the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), the seminar brought together stakeholders, particularly women from across the sub-region to discuss leadership opportunities and challenges affecting women advancement in West Africa.
“Women are key stakeholders in national development and Africa is not an exemption. Women are also hard working and always strike a balance in their personal and professional lives to promote societal development. So, we cannot develop as a society, if we don’t empower women,” remarked Seedy Keita, the Minister for Finance, while declaring the 3-day conference open.
Minister Keita described taxes as the bedrock of any economy, saying it is the distributive system that makes the allocation of resources. He further talked about the recent study that shows how the Covid-19 crisis in most countries was handled better by women.
Addressing the sub-regional leaders, Yankuba Darboe, the Commissioner General for GRA, assured the delegates of his office delight to host the conference in Gambia, which he anticipates to be successful.
“I have always held the belief that revenue mobilisation is everyone’s business. This includes the taxman, the taxpayer, public institutions, civil society and international partners across the world. We are therefore delighted to support the Society of Women in Taxation in delivering a successful conference,” said Darboe.
According to him, the civil society organisations are often the incubators of reforms and new ideas, and that the deliberations of this conference should help to yield the desired result and provide valuable information and insights.
Darboe said the importance of women taking up leadership roles in politics, business and in communities cannot be underestimated as they continue to be vastly under-represented in decision making.
“Women, as leaders and decision-makers at all levels, are critical to advancing gender justice and gender equality,” he added.
“I am confident that information at this conference will increase your self-belief and self-confidence. Questions to find clarity regarding what is important personally and professionally. It will make you prioritize self-reflection, self-care, and care for family without chaos,” said Dr Ruth Adimula, national chairperson for SWIT, Nigeria.
She added: ““That maiden conference was an eye opener to the fact that women are influencers and much is expected of us in this regard much more as professional women.”
Saliju Tenytori, a representative of Ecowas, said women issues have gained increased recognition and prominent in public policy discussion over the past three decades but gender issues were not considered as important policy in developing countries.
“Therefore, I challenged you (women) to seek leadership positions even at the ECOWAS level,” he challenged.