The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has said that agriculture presents the major opportunity for 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, October 6, 2017 during the 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, State Governors and other sector stakeholders, sought to consolidate the collective efforts of the monetary and fiscal authorities to diversify the country’s economy.
Continuing, he said the outcome of the meeting was expected to significantly improve the agricultural output, drive economic growth, reduce unemployment among youths and increase national cohesion.
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.
Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, 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.
In his remarks, the 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 Mr. Emefiele in galvanizing rice production revolution through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Bagudu appealed to Nigerians to support the AADS, noting that even industrialized nations have had to protect their agricultural production through tariffs and trade policy especially in areas the country has comparative advantage.
The Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, who serves as Head, Project Monitoring Sub-Committee and Chairman of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, also commended the efforts of President Buhari, the CBN Governor, Minister of Agriculture and the Kebbi State Governor for their passion for agricultural development in the country.
The Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) is an initiative that is expected to deliver at least 10,000 jobs for the Nigerian Youths in each state along the agricultural value chain. The AADS will be implemented under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and State Governors are expected to play vital roles in its implementation by providing arable land for farming.