I’ll support Atiku not Buhari in 2019 – Women Affairs Minister

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  • As OPS seeks tighter control on imports 

The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, has restated her position that she will support a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, for the 2019 presidential election.

Mrs. Alhassan, in an interview with BBC Hausa, added that even if President Muhammadu Buhari decides to contest in 2019, she would still support Mr. Abubakar.

“Atiku is my godfather even before I joined politics,” she said in Hausa. “And again, Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019.”

“Let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah, I will go before him and kneel and tell him that ‘Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister but Baba just like you know I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather. If Atiku said he is going to contest.”

“In a nation where politicians are quick to dump the people that assisted them to get to where they are, for political expediency, I have chosen to maintain a long standing family relationship with Abubakar, as well as Buhari, who I consider as a father”.

Mrs. Alhassan, popularly called Mama Taraba, added that she is not scared of being relieved of her job as minister.

“If because of what I said, I am sacked, it will not bother me because I believe in Allah, that my time has elapsed that is why…”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, arms of the Organised Private Sector, OPS, have called on the Federal Government to ensure tighter control on products being imported into the country as a way of sustaining the gains of recovery from recession.

Data released by National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, on Tuesday showed that Nigeria has marginally exited recession as at end of second quarter 2017 (Q2’17) with 0.55 percent gross domestic product, GDP, growth rate.

Reacting to the GDP report, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, National President, NACCIMA, stated: “More support is required for MSMEs, agribusiness, and tighter control on imports as a way of sustaining the gains recorded in the quarter under review, and to stimulate local production and empowering the real sector in line with the Federal Government’s Executive Order 003.”

She said NACCIMA also wants formulation and implementation of policies which can encourage the banking sector lower interest rates crucial to growth in the real sector. “With these in place, the association expects to see further economic growth in subsequent quarters.

The economy is still exposed to external shocks, as it is still largely import-dependent. We call on the government to continue to intensify implementation of programmes and strategies geared towards economic recovery, ensuring ease of doing business, infrastructural development and diversification of the nation’s economy,” she said.

Frank Jacobs, MAN President, also stated: “In as much as the positive growth rate is blowing favourable air, government needs not rest on its oars by further deploying strategic synthesis of fiscal and monetary policies, further make the operating environment friendlier, enhance the purchasing power of average Nigerians, further support the manufacturing, agriculture, telecom and oil with comprehensive and integrated support system that would guarantee meaningful growth.

“The manufacturing sector at the moment still requires stable and adequate enabling environment, a reliable policy support system that would effectively address existing familiar challenges like inadequate power and dearth of basic infrastructure prevalent in the sector.

The provision of infrastructure and implementation of the following recommendations would sufficiently guarantee sustainability and inclusiveness of the current recovery tempo in the best interest of the sector and the economy as a whole.”

Citizen with additional report from Vanguard