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Nigeria to save billions in foreign exchange from rice factory, naval hospital

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Muhammadu Buhari

To stem rice importation and medical tourism abroad, President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned a multi billion naira Automated Rice Seeds and Seedling Factory and a Nigeria Navy Reference Hospital in Calabar, Cross River State.

The ventures are expected to save the country billions of naira in foreign exchange spent on rice importation and medical tourism overseas.

President Buhari, who spoke in company of Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ekwe and Governor Ben Ayade, gave the indication yesterday at the commissioning of the projects built by the state government and the Nigeria Navy.

He said the Calabar Rice Seedlings factory built by the state government was a welcome development and very satisfying, adding: “We lunched a zero oil road map to boost the economy, particularly in Agriculture.

“I am happy that Ayade keyed into this and has become one of the reference points in our agricultural revolution efforts.

This is a testament that the policy is working. This factory speaks loudly of the giant strides we are making in agriculture as a country.”

He pointed out that with other programmes like the rice processing mills in Ogoja, the Cocoa Processing Mill in Ikom, the Banana Farm and others, it was clear that Cross River has found a pathway to ease itself from over-reliance on federal allocations.

At the Navy Reference Hospital, which was conceived in 1974, the President, who was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire and Ekwe said: “Our primary healthcare system will, therefore, be elevated and driven in such a manner that it emphasises quality and service delivery.”

Speaking, Ekwe noted that the hospital has been realised with a 150-bed space, state of the art facilities and helipad for medical evacuation and many other facilities to provide quality healthcare for all.

“The hospital has been positioned to provide extensive medical services with particular emphasis on healthcare delivery aimed at arresting dependence on foreign medical facilities.

“In its full capacity, it will be able to provide quality healthcare delivery not only for Nigerian Navy and armed forces personnel but also for other Nigerians at large,” he stated.

Responding, Ayade said with a population of nearly 190 million people by 2018 statistics, Nigeria would have a huge challenge that could lead to absolute sarcasm and social disorder if the country do not take a deliberate step to ensure that it improved its rice demand and supply chain.

“It is against this background that we realised that we needed to do something very specific on rice cultivation. It is not just enough to provide seeds but how effective are seeds,” he added.

The President also commissioned 100 units model brisk accommodation at Atimbo in Akpabuyo Local Council built by the navy.


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