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Shettima urges governors to develop agriculture sector



Vice President Kashim Shettima has implored governors to work towards revamping Nigeria’s agricultural sector to reduce dependence on food imports and attain food self-sufficiency.

Shettima made the call on Thursday during the 137th meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The vice-president is the Chairman of NEC, a statutory body that has the mandate to advise the President on the nation’s economic affairs, with the 36 states governors of the federation, CBN)l governor, Minister of Finance and other stakeholders as members.

Shettima said: ” our upcoming task must be rooted in recognising the agrarian nature of our economy.

“We must strive for deliberate value addition in the agricultural sector, moving away from commodity exports towards job creation.

“Collaboration is vital in enabling the Specialized Agro Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).

“We must develop our agricultural sector towards self-sufficiency and exporting processed agricultural products in line with the African Union’s Africa 2063 Agenda.

“This also aligns with AfDB’s investments and commitment to establishing the SAPZ. Collaboratively, we should harness our agricultural comparative and complementary advantages across the value chains of priority crops within the SAPZ.”

Shettima hinted about the possibility of engaging the private sector in tackling floods and other natural disasters.

The vice-president noted that considering the financial implications of managing natural disasters, the government cannot do it alone.

“I am aware of the financial implications of managing natural disasters. We cannot tackle this alone. Innovative capital pools from the private sector can help share and mitigate fiscal and economic risks posed by such disasters.

“This approach has been successful in other African countries, preparing for low-probability yet highly disruptive ‘black swan’ events.

“Once again, we find ourselves bearing the weight of the nation. Since our last gathering, much has transpired, with each event punctuated by the nation’s reactions.

“None of us here requires a reminder of the direction we are headed or what is required to ensure that we stand together through the storm to fulfill our promises to the people.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome you back, back to the 137th meeting of the National Economic Council, our engine room.”

Shettima told the governors and other members of Council to get involved in seeking both short-term palliative and enduring solutions to the consequences of reforms.

The vice-president noted that the selection of states in the next phase of the SAPZ programme would be determined by the commitment and determination of each State government.

He urged state governments to maximise the benefits of opportunities created by multilateral organisations headed by Nigerians such as the African Development Bank and AFREXIM Bank.

Shettima also called for a weekly comprehensive report on the SAPZ programme from the Ministry of Agriculture.

He noted that he would personally supervise the implementation of the scheme.

The vice-president added that the Minister of Finance would release N20 billion for the project on a public-private Partnership.

It was reported that the presentation of the SAPZ Programme was made by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari.

The objective of the programme is to support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development in Nigeria, aimed at diversifying Nigeria’s economy through agriculture and reduction of food import bills.

Salisu Sani-idris

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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