President Muhammadu Buhari says he chose to place women in strategic positions of his government, like the financial sector, to ensure effective management of limited resources available.
Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, is among the seven women in Buhari’s cabinet. Kemi Adeosun, her predecessor, stayed in office until she resigned three years ago owing to certificate scandal. Speaking when a delegation of national, zonal, state and FCT women leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) visited him at the presidential villa in Abuja on Thursday, the president said another reason for keeping women in charge of finance is to promote a stronger sense of inclusiveness. Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, disclosed this in a statement he issued after Buhari’s meeting with the women. “President Buhari said he preferred women to oversee the economic and financial hub of the country, Ministry of Finance, as they can readily deploy their experience in aligning resources with the needs of the country, explaining that the nation also had many female technocrats with local and international experiences on economy and finance,” he said.
“I am happy that I can defend myself very effectively on this issue. The APC party leader is my witness. Since the coming into power of this administration I have handed over the treasury to women.
“Even at household level, you hand over the money to women to manage. It can be taken to the level of managing the country’s treasury as well. I have consistently given it to women. It is strategic. “I am conscious of the leadership roles of women in the society and by my action I have justified my belief.”
The president added that his administration would ensure inclusiveness for women and youth by providing more access to facilities that will enable spread of small and medium scale enterprises, and encourage more interest in agriculture. Buhari said the traditional and subsistence style of farming should be replaced with commercialised and business oriented techniques. “We have to move away from the traditional ways of farming that were practiced in the pre-colonial and colonial era,’’ he said. The president said he instructed the ministers to work with traditional institutions to encourage interest in farming, with the Central Bank of Nigeria readily providing loans at low interest rates and longer periods of repayment. “On unemployment, I know there is no able bodied person that went back to the farm in the last three years that regretted the action,’’ he said.