Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said his administration if elected as president next year will attempt reviving the nation’s economy by empowering women and the youths which are the most vulnerable groups in the country.
The Adamawa born politician, who expressed concern on over 12 million Nigerians currently unemployed, said the best way to move a family out of poverty is to empower women while provision of functional education for the youths only can make them self- employed and depend less on government for means of livelihood.
Atiku while unveiling his economic agenda on Sunday night in Abuja during the PDP Presidential Aspirants Media Chat organised by the United Nigeria Group, said that at 12 million,
Nigeria has the highest unemployment rate and lowest growth rate, making joblessness the greatest problem stunting the growth of the nation and that it requires a visionary government to surmount the challenge and bring the economy back on the path of growth.
He said when the Buhari administration took over the economy was growing at GDP of 6% to 7% but it crashed and dragged the nation into recession, though it is coming out at about 1.6 % growth.
“So any country that its economic growth is below its population growth is in a danger that is the danger that is facing our country today. So anybody who can come and lift up our economy to a level where our GDP growth will surpass our population growth,
I think is the leader we should at this point in time support and give the opportunity to take our country out of this crisis. And that is what I stand for”, he said.
To absorb about 12 million unemployed in the economy, he said there is need to bring investors into the country but added that there is the need to train them on how to be self- employ.
“What I have for the youths is job and education. Our education has witnessed serious set back, in the sense that we are producing graduates that are not employable in the labour market. We should have entrepreneurship as a fundamental issue in our syllabus.
I have seen it work, in my university whatever course you are studying, you must also do entrepreneurship course. That is why graduates from my university are the biggest job creator, as soon as they come out they create jobs.
“Today, I see the government giving some people N10,000, how can someone set up a business with that? I have owned one of the most successful Microfinance banks in this country, am working with people from Bangaladash because they are the best when it comes to Microfinance system. We have moved about 45, 000 families out of poverty.
“And what is the best way to move a family out of poverty? This is to empower the woman. Because of this, I directed the bank to give 80% of their loan to women.
They have been implementing that policy and today we are one of the most successful microfinance banks in Nigeria, because women repay, take more, and look after their family.
I am a product of a woman, because I lost my father at a very tender age and my mother was doing all kinds of business to look after me and I became what I am today.
So honesty, the best policy to move family out of poverty is to empower women. If you do that you will see how fast you will get out of poverty, particularly now that Nigeria has been decimated as the capital of poverty in the world, we need to engage our women to turn it round for good”.
On why he wants to become President, he said the nation needs a leadership that has the experience, that has the capacity and that has the know-how.
“And our most challenging issue in the country today is the issue of unemployment and creation of jobs, unity in the country and states. I believe I am more suitable to handle all these.
Because look at it, as a civil servant, I have worked 20 years in the federal bureaucracy. As a politician, I served successfully for 8 years as the Vice President and in that position, I chaired the economic team of that administration
and I brought so many innovations to our administration that led to the creation of jobs worth of thousands, creation of wealth and prosperity and relative peace and stability.
“Again if you go back to my private sector experience, I have been a farmer, I’m still a farmer and I’m still an investor. If you put all these experiences together, that gives me the advantage over some of my contemporaries.
Not that they don’t have something to put on the table, each and every one of them have something to put on the table, but some can put more on the table than the others,”the former vice president added.