- The President Muhammadu Buhari's administration has ended the importation of rice in Nigeria, the federal government has said
- FG said prior to the administration of President Buhari, Nigeria was importing major food items including the ones the country was capable of producing
- According to Nduka Eluhaiwe, a special assistant to the CBN governor, Nigeria following President Buhari’s mandate, major sectors of the economy has witnessed some form of change or the other
The federal government has said that Nigeria is no longer importing rice needed to be consumed by Nigerians across the country.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Policy Development (N-PoD) summit, on Tuesday, February 5, a special assistant to the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria development finance, Nduka Eluhaiwe, said the president Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has ensured an end to rice importation.
The event themed: “Interrogating the Change Agenda: Challenges and Lessons Learnt” was organised by the office of the special assistant to the president on policy development and analysis.
According to Eluhaiwe, prior to the administration of President Buhari, Nigeria was importing major food items including the ones the country was capable of producing.
He said because the president wanted to deliver on all his campaign promises, he mandated that all issues raised in his manifesto be touched.
Eluhaiwe said: “In 2014/15, the main issues that were raised by Mr. President and his main focus were for the leader of the team to focus on agriculture and development finance.”
“He also mandated that all issues raised during the campaign at that time be touched. And I am happy today that he didn’t disappoint Nigerians
"We observed that one of the critical issues was that Nigeria was spending billions of dollars importing foods into this country.
Then, this was the only country where you would import what you have the capacity to process when beyond agriculture,” Eluhaiwe said.
The development banker also noted that Nigeria following President Buhari’s mandate, major sectors of the economy has witnessed some form of change or the other.
He said averagely pre-Buhari’s administration, Nigeria was not spending anything less than $600 billion on food importation.
Speaking on measure used to tackle importation of staple food products, Eluhaiwe said, the CBN in consultation with the federal; government of Nigeria decided to do away those food items that Nigeria had the capacity to produce.
“We decided to take one of the major foods and that is rice, we saw it as a low hanging fruit. So in collaboration with the federal government of Nigeria we established the Anchor Borrower programme.
And our first experiment was in Kebbi state, the impact of the Anchor Borrower programme is immeasurable today.
In terms of productivity, the first year of the Anchor Borrower programme 400,000 farmers were anchored on the programme.
Productivity of the farmers particularly the rice farmers increased from one and half tonne per hectare to 4 - 8 tonnes per hectare.
Today, as we speak Nigeria does not import any rice. Any foreign rice you see in Nigeria is smuggled through the borders of the country, which the federal government is tackling,” he noted.
Also speaking, Buba Marwa, a former governor of Borno and Lagos states during the military administration said, the significance of the summit is to reinvigorate the change agenda which is the Next Level aspirations of present administration.
Marwa said this can be achieved through the change management methodology of learning, unlearning and relearning using critical review and information sharing.
He said there is no need to belabour the evident fact that President Buhari-led adminsitartion inherited a collapsed economy, decayed critical infrastructure, plethora of abandoned projects, insecurity arising from Boko Haram, low national savings, economic sabotage, and corruption on a grand scale.
However, Marwa noted that what is most important for now is the lessons learnt in combating these challenges.
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According to him, “Change cannot and will never occur in an environment that is not driven by learning and unlearning. Long before now, President Muhammadu Buhari has consistently argued that the problem of Nigeria is corruption, poverty and insecurity.”
“These were his campaign slogans since he joined partisan politics. Not surprising, he was vindicated in 2015, 30 years after vested interests chased him out of power because he dared to do what he is doing now back then,” Marwa added.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a fight between some personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and a gang of rice smugglers on Monday, February 4, resulted into one of the officials being injured.
The incident was revealed by the command's spokesman, Danbaba I. who in a statement also disclosed that the smugglers succeeded in setting one patrol van ablaze.
Danbaba said: “Our men were to execute information on suspected smuggled vehicles, an accident occurred not too far from the location where our men are operating. When road safety came, they sought for the assistance of our men to evacuate the injured persons to the nearest hospital."
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