by Blessing Bature, Abuja
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has maintained that agriculture presents the major opportunity of a long-term sustainable development in the country.
He said that, in spite of the current levels of unemployment in Nigeria, the agricultural sector remained vital to the efforts of the federal government in diversifying the country’s monolithic economy away from oil.
Mr. Emefiele stated this at the Bank’s head office on Friday, during a stakeholders’ meeting on the operational framework for the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the meeting, which had in attendance the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, State governors and other sector stakeholders, sought to consolidate the collective efforts of the monetary and fiscal authorities to diversify the country’s economy.
Emefiele said the consolidated efforts of the federal government to diversify the monolithic economy away from oil and to reposition the agricultural landscape of the country will go a long way to providing more jobs to Nigerians.
He added, “There is no gainsaying that as a nation, if we get our agricultural acts together, the sector has the potential for huge revenue generation as it is very pivotal in employment and job creation.”
“It is of my personal conviction that this is one of the ways to mass job creation and long-term growth in Nigeria, and this will be implemented as a special scheme under the Anchor Borrower’s Program”, he said.
While acknowledging the twin-challenge of youth restiveness and unemployment, the governor stressed the need for stakeholders to confront the challenge with innovative thinking using agriculture as a fulcrum of a long-term sustainable and profitable approach.
He said agriculture had the potential for huge revenue generation and was pivotal in employment and job creation, noting that the fact that the agricultural sector was the only sector that experienced growth during the recent recession in the country, bore testimony to that.
On his part, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, lauded the courage of the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and his team in introducing the policy on the restriction of access to foreign exchange from the Nigerian Forex market for some 41 items which can be produced in Nigeria.
Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, who doubles as the head, Technical Sub-committee of AADS and chairman of the Presidential Initiative on Rice and Wheat, commended the efforts of Mr. Emefiele and his team in galvanising rice production revolution through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).