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Buhari restates commitment to diversification, citizens’ empowerment


President Muhammadu Buhari. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO.

President Muhammadu Buhari. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO.

President Muhammadu Buhari has, for the umpteenth time, reiterated the commitment of his administration to diversify the economy as well as empower the people productively and sustainably through agriculture.

This, he stressed, would entail treating agriculture as a business to provide food, create wealth and create employment opportunities to take the nation from being an import-dependent entity that spends over $22 billion yearly on wheat, rice, sugar and fish importation to a self-sufficient with a strong foreign exchange war chest.

Buhari, who spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State at the 20th Farmers’ Day celebration of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC)/ENI, said he was pleased that his administration’s agricultural road map and policies were yielding positive results.

Represented by the Minister of State (Agriculture), Heineken Lokpobiri, the President noted that despite the economic recession, militancy and vandalisation in the Niger Delta, the administration had vigorously pursued its vision in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors of the economy.

“The most recent GDP figures for the second quarter of 2016 show that these two priority areas, agriculture and solid minerals, have recorded significant growth. To crown it all, we have recorded a bumper agricultural harvest across the country.

“Let me use this opportunity to restate our utmost commitment to our farmers nationwide. This government is taking several schemes in supporting farmers and agriculture. Let me list some of them. There is the borrowers programme of the CBN, which has already impacted on rice production in several states.

“Our social investment programme is providing direct employment as extension workers to thousands of unemployed Nigerians. The Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan is prioritising support for agro-processing to ensure that we build a manufacturing base. There are also infrastructural initiatives aimed at ensuring that our agricultural products can quickly and effectively get to the markets,” he said.

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