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Unemployment Nigeria’s biggest challenge not food insecurity, says minister

By Joke Falaju, Matthew Ogune and Dorcas Peters, Abuja
24 August 2021   |   4:13 am
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has said Nigeria’s biggest challenge is unemployment, not food insecurity.

Unemployed youth

‘Medium term plan to tackle 411m projected population mark by 2050’
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has said Nigeria’s biggest challenge is unemployment, not food insecurity.

He said the country’s food production has improved and the country has even gained international recognition. The problem, however, is that many are not gainfully employed. As a result, they do not earn money to buy food, pay rents or get better education.

“We may produce enough food to eat but people will still sleep with hunger because they do not have enough money to buy food. And the reason is that they are not gainfully employed to earn money for food, rent or education. That is our biggest challenge,” the minister said at the 2021 edition of the Feed Nigeria Summit in Abuja, yesterday.

He noted that poverty would not end in the country without synergy between the agricultural and industrial sectors. According to him, “unless we create that relationship and make it strong, the poverty we are talking about will not go away”.

He said: “If we do not focus on how to remove this fundamental issue of the army of unemployed youths and move them to be gainfully employed, we are doing nothing.”

While acknowledging efforts by some agricultural industrialists, Nanono, who was represented by the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Mrs, Karima Babangida, expressed optimism that with the ongoing massive investment in sugar, in the next two years, Nigeria would be self-sufficient in production and meet up with the yearly demand of 1.5 million tones.

MEANWHILE, Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba has said the current Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2021-2025 of the Federal Government is designed to tackle a projected population of 411 million by 2050.

Agba stated this, yesterday, in Abuja while declaring open a capacity-building workshop for Special Advisors and Technical Assistants of Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, organised by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).

Agba the government designed the plan to replace the outgone Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 and the Nigeria Vision 20:2020 that elapsed in December 2020.

He noted that the plans are also anchored on the government’s desire to address the prevalence of poverty by lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

He added: “There is the widely held notion that previous plans were federal plans. To eliminate this notion, the process for the ongoing plan has been inclusive and participatory, involving not only state actors but also the organised private sector, civil society organisations, women and youth groups, including people with special needs.”