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Traders tasks politicians on accountability

Mr Ken Ukaoha, NANT President
Mr Ken Ukaoha, NANTS President

The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has called for accountability from in-coming governments, insisting that they must keep their promises.

President of the association, Mr Ken Ukaoha, made the call at the public presentation of “Framers Manifesto and Traders Charter Demands’’ in Abuja on Monday.

“We are gradually coming back to our senses to ask why promises made by politicians have not been fulfilled.

“Promises of 24-hour power supply to help the optimal performance of our businesses and free education at all levels are yet fulfilled.

“Also, promises of good roads to bring our harvested products from farm to the market and good health, among others, are not yet met,’’ Ukaoha said.

He said that the era of vote-buying was closing up, assuring that electorate would no longer sell their votes and future for N10, 000.

He said that there would no longer be room for politicians to enjoy people’s collective wealth for four years while the citizens lavished in penury.

“We are tired of bags of rice, salt and wrapper in exchange for our future and the future of our children.

“With our Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) on one hand and our instruments on the other hand, it is now time for politicians to make commitments and sign for us on what they will deliver within their four years tenure.

“We shall vote and hold them accountable to their signature,’’ Ukaoha said.

According to him, Nigerians deserve good governance, economic growth and sustainable development and such cannot be achieved without adequate demand from the people.

He said that the traders demanded for immediate design and provision of a coherent, predictable and inward-looking trade policy to help in smooth running of the economy.

Ukaoha also called for investigation of all “illegal seizure’’ of traders’ goods by agencies of government in line with the commitment to the fight against corruption.

“Others needs are capacity-building to meet the demands of the 21st century trading environment and the harmonization of taxes and charges meted on traders to curb multiple taxation and economy distortion,’’ he added.

For farmers, the president called for increased budgetary allocation to agriculture, dedication of at least 60 per cent of agriculture funding to small-scale farmers.

He also urged governments to enunciate action plan for the support of farmers and roadmap for the resolution of herdsmen-farmers crises.

On his part, Prof. Clement Alawa, Dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Abuja, said that if the government had marched its promises with action, the country would be providing all it consumed.

Alawa said that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme did not get to every part of the country and advised that the school feeding programme should be done the right way.

“They should feed the children the right food which is balanced diet,’’ he said.

Alawa called on government to pay attention to what was called “bush market’’ because it affected the farmers and the consumers.

He also advised that the government should address the issues of farm production, conservation credit, agriculture, rural development and nutrition programme.

According to him, farmers needed insurance to boost the production and also look into research and extension.

“Our food products cannot be exported except we follow the standards to avoid rejection by the international community.

“The issue of inconsistent and unrealistic policy must be looked into,’’ he said.

Alawa said that the country had been affected by the issue of lack of proper follow-up and that such needed to be addressed.