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Economic diversification through agriculture is imperative, says CBN


Considering the important role agriculture plays in providing the impetus for economic growth and development, including provision of food and employment for the ever growing population, raw materials for the industrial sector and foreign exchange earnings from exports, it is the best route to economic diversification, especially in developing countries like Nigeria.

This was the position of the Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Policy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Okwu Joseph Nnanna, when he delivered the 26th pre-convocation lecture of the Abia State University, Uturu, on Friday, entitled, ‘Diversification of the Nigerian Economy through the Agricultural Sector.’

The lecture was chaired by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Uche Ikonne, who advised the students to apply the prescriptions for their own benefits, especially in the era of unavailable white collar jobs.

He described economic diversification by the United Nation’s Framework on Climate Change as “a process through which a growing range and number of economic output is produced which specifically entails the diversification of markets for exports, income sources away from a mono domestic activity and the adaptation of multi-product line within and economic entity.”

According to the CBN deputy governor, following the dwindling revenues from oil from 1981 to 1990 and the consequent adoption of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1986, the contribution of agriculture had improved in recent years to 21.7 and 22.7% in 2018 first and second quarters respectively, adding that this development reflects the impact of increased focus on agriculture.

Noting that data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that the agricultural sector still remains the largest employer of labour force at 48.2%, Dr Nnanna stated that the scenario showed that with the right policies and interventions, the challenge of youth unemployment would be drastically addressed by the agricultural sector and its value chain.

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CBNOkwu Joseph Nnanna
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