OrderPaperToday – Nigeria reportedly spends up to $20billion annually to import foods and agricultural products into the country annually.
This was disclosed by the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh.
Ogbeh, who disclosed this on Tuesday at an interactive session with the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture lamented that such huge sum was spent on importation of foods like banana, Irish potatos, and cookies into the country, warning that “if we carry on this way, Nigeria will be bankrupt in the next four years.”
The minister however said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to curtailing the situation, noting in particular that “our policy in the ministry is to achieve self-sufficiency in rice in two years, while what can take up to three years.”
Ogbeh who expressed optimism in the country’s capacity to embark on exportation of rice, cocoa and other agricultural produces, assured on job creation for the teeming Nigerian youths.
While acknowledging the brilliant successes recorded by his predecessors, Ogbe pledged not to engage in policy somersault, just as he solicited for the cooperation of the Committee.
Some of the lawmakers who spoke at the meeting stressed the need for the adoption of Maputo declaration which stipulates 10% of the annual budgetary allocation to agricultural sector, against the 5% allocation currently adopted in Nigeria.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Mohammed Monguno, chairman of the committee, explained that the meeting was aimed at identifying ways of moving the agricultural sector forward.
He also emphasised the need to effectively drive the sector by creating mass employment for the teeming unemployed youths, stressing that the sector has the potential of sustaining the nation’s economy.