By Franca Ofili
Mr Ken Ukaoha, the President, National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) said that 14,000 members of the association benefited from the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) of the Federal Government.
Ukaoha, who said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a news conference, noted that the success of President Muhammadu Buhari had fulfilled the aspirations of many Nigerians.
He said that traders and farmers had benefited from the laudable programmes of the Federal Government.
Ukaoha congratulated Buhari for his re-election and urged him to do more in the area of social investment programmes.
He said that before Buhari’s re-election, members of the National Executive Council of the association had paid a solidarity visit to the president to table the needs of traders and farmers.
Ukaoha said that during the visit, the association urged Buhari to examine cases of traders’ grievances with regards to illegal seizure of their goods and the subject of overtime cargo by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
According to him, the association urged Buhari to provide a credible and predictable trade policy for the country’s growth, while seeking the harmonisation of taxes and charges to address multiple taxation.
He said the association also discussed the non representation of their members in the 17 Agencies and Parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
“We want our members to be included in all statutory boards of agencies related to their activities, including NCS where import duties paid by traders have kept the country’s economy on its feet,’’ Ukaoha said.
He said that the association also urged Buhari to address the incessant market fire disasters which affects the traders’ livelihoods as well as the economic dreams of Nigeria.
Ukaoha advised the Federal Government not to abandon the TraderMoni and other related schemes helping the poor operators.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that TraderMoni is an empowerment scheme of the Federal Government created specifically for petty traders and artisans across Nigeria.
More than 1,2 million petty traders across the country have so far benefitted from the scheme.
According to Ukaoha, majority of its members have started to pay back the TraderMoni as it has a six months period.
He said for the agriculture sector, NANTS called for increased budgetary allocation to the sector in order to advance improved productivity, food security and the economic diversification agenda.
Ukaoha said the association also requested for 60 per cent of the agriculture investments to be earmarked for small scale agriculture.
According to him, traders should be made to benefit from all social capital schemes such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), pensions and others not presently favoring farmers.
“In addition, we call on the incoming administration to seek ways of revitalising the agric extension services in order to reduce the wide extension-farmer ratio and facilitate access to extension agent contact by farmers.
“The successes achieved in the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) and the Anchor Borrowers Scheme should be sustained through the institutionalisation of the schemes.
“The Land Use Act needs to be reviewed to grant ease of access to lands for small scale farmers and women farmers in particular.
“We need documented plan of action that will activate improved access to inputs, credits, and address climate change impact, market access for domestic produce, and the prevention and ending of herders- farmers’ crises,’’ he said (NAN)