Efforts to get the nation out of state of misery brought about by economic recession are yielding results in the area of agriculture, a senior presidential aide has said.
“Because the elite don’t care (about) ordinary people they are
saying that government is doing nothing but we are doing a lot for ordinary people,” the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu told the Pyramid Radio in Kano.
“They don’t want us to talk about the 14 solar power projects that have been licensed to boost electricity supply in the country, the Mambila power project which will soon leave the drawing board and the many Chinese projects, including the standard gauge railway.
This country has more important things to talk about instead of dwelling on trivia,” he added.
Shehu said the price of fertilizer has dropped from about N9,000 to N10,000 per bag to N5,500, adding that Nigeria has about 32 fertilizer blending plants that have remained idle for many years but that about half that number were now in production and have employed as many as 100 workers each.
Speaking about the flagship agricultural programme of rice production, the spokesman said: “while in 2014, we bought 1.2 million tonnes of rice from Thailand, only 58,000 tonnes were imported last year.”
He said as a result of the country’s growing rice production, assisted by the government’s decision to deny foreign exchange through the Central Bank of Nigeria for rice importation, parboiled rice mills in some Asian countries have shut down because, Nigeria, one of the world’s largest importers, is not buying. Five of such mills in Thailand servicing Nigeria have stopped production due to the withdrawal of our patronage.”
“Currently, government is watching with keen interest, the growing investment in rice milling by the private sector and will continue to give encouragement through the Ministry of Agriculture to such efforts by BUA Industries in Jigawa, Dangote in Kano, OLAM and WACOTT in Nasarawa and Kebbi and what a consortium of businessmen lead by a former governor in Anambra State are doing. The increase in the volume
of rice production and processing is already saving this country a lot of money,” Shehu added.
He said the administration’s agricultural revolution was bringing about other socio-economic changes in the country.