Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has promised to attract investments and support 50 million Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises, if elected president next year.

Atiku, while unveiling his Policy Launch through a live Facebook address in Yola, Adamawa State, said the purpose was to double  Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to  $900 billion by 2025.

He said the investments would create a minimum of 2. 5 million jobs annually and lift at least 50 million people from poverty in the first two years.

His team will also help to create jobs by innovating flagship programmes, such as the national open apprenticeship programme, through the capacity of master-craftsmen and women to train one-million new apprentices every year would be enhanced.

”Our national innovation fund and SME venture capital fund initiatives will provide stable and sustainable long-term support to aspiring entrepreneurs,’’ the PDP flagbearer said.

According to Atiku, his plan to restructure Nigeria will lead to a vast increase in the internally generated revenue, both for the Federal Government and the states.

The former Vice President said that would be done via the matching grants that would be provided to state governments that increased their own revenue.

”Let me be clear, no state will receive less funding than they get today – in fact, all will receive more and the harder a state works the more they will get,’’ he said, adding that they were not just his plan, but that of Nigerians.

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He also pledged to offer an inclusive leadership, saying “Atiku Abubakar is 100 per cent for 100 per cent of Nigerians, 100 per cent of the time‘’.

The PDP presidential candidate said that he was not out to make promises without a plan as being witnessed in the past, adding that it is one thing to promise and another to deliver.

”I am not one for making grandiose promises. Rather than promises, I believe in policies. A promise is an indication to do a future action. A policy is a plan to achieve future goals.

“I believe in setting goals and coming up with realistic plans and policies to achieving those goals. To me, leadership is having the discipline to commit to one’s goals until they are a reality.

”I have succeeded in running my private enterprises, which now employ 50,000 Nigerians, because I believe in policies and I have the discipline to stay with them until they become reality.

”It is my desire to run for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not because I have a bag full of promises, but because I am prepared to lead, ‘’ he said.

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Abubakar said in the last 18 months, he had worked with the best experts in Nigeria to come up with policies that would get Nigeria going in the right direction.

He recalled that when he was Vice President from 1999 to 2007, “I chaired the National Economic Council that gave Nigeria her highest and most consistent GDP growth of over 6 per cent per annum”.

He said  in spite of the fact that crude oil prices at that time were much lower than they were today, under the dynamic leadership of President Obasanjo, Nigeria paid off  its entire foreign debt.

”We also introduced the GSM revolution that saw Nigeria go from 100,000 phone lines to over 100 million today.

”We were able to achieve these, and much more, because we had a plan called the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy.

”That plan worked, and today I have the pleasure of unveiling our policies and strategies, not promises, to take Nigeria from where she is right now, to where she needs to be.

”This is my plan to get Nigeria working again. A plan that will give Nigerian workers a living wage. A plan that will give Nigeria’s youth a world-class education.

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”A plan that will empower Nigerian women, reduce maternal mortality and increase their financial stability. A plan that will cater for the elderly, so our people are not afraid of growing old.

”A plan that will invest in our failing infrastructure.’’

The former vice president said above all, it was a plan that would help to create jobs, adding that without jobs, Nigerians could not afford to feed their families and their children live in poverty.

”Without jobs, there is crime, drug use and insecurity. Without jobs, where is the hope for a better life and a better future?

”Today we will begin the process of sharing our policies that form my plan to create jobs, restructure the polity, and get Nigeria working again.’’

Atiku, who said that he started out as an orphan selling firewood on the streets of  Jada in Adamawa, added: “If Nigeria worked for me, I owe it as my duty to make sure that Nigeria also works for you, your family and your friends.

”It is time to get Nigeria working again, and these are the plans and policies I have for achieving that. I appeal to you to join me on this journey toward a better life for all Nigerians.


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