Yuguda, Obaseki, Adeosun advocate investment in agriculture to tackle forex shortage
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has advocated massive investment in agriculture, especially oil palm, as strategic move to boost foreign exchange in Nigeria.
Speaking at the 26th Stockbrokers’ Conference with the theme: ‘ Capital Market and Agricultural Development in Nigeria: Issues and the Way Forward’, held in Benin City, yesterday, Obaseki, who was represented by the Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, stated that the state government developed Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to boost investment in oil palm plantation and agriculture sector in order to close supply gap in the system.
Obaseki said his government’s sustained investment in oil palm cultivation and production will enhance diversification of the state’s economy from crude oil and support ongoing efforts to engender forest regeneration.
He noted that stockbrokers play critical roles in the flow of investments into various sectors of the economy. He also noted that the Nigerian economic growth was hinged on a vibrant private sector, driven by a thriving capital market.
He said: “We are fortunate to have in our state, the biggest publicly traded commercial agricultural companies, notably Okomu Oil Palm Plc and Presco Plc, both of which operate massive oil palm plantation in the state. These companies have grown exponentially, returning high dividend to investors in the last few years.”
Earlier, the Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, said investment in agriculture would facilitate nation’s diversification exercise, job creation and socio-economic development.
According to him, for Nigeria to tackle some of the challenges faced presently, especially in the areas of rising inflation, declining government revenues, unemployment and massive infrastructure deficit, more conscious efforts must be made to fully diversify revenue base.
“The fact that over 70 per cent of the Nigerian populace depends on agriculture as a means of livelihood, mainly at subsistence level, calls for deliberate policies and action plans towards expanding the sector.”
In his welcome address, President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Oluwole Adeosun, lauded Edo State Government for hosting stockbrokers and urged other state governments to support the course.
Adeosun said the conference was expected to explore the nexus between the agricultural sector and the capital market as drivers of employment generation and wealth creation.