President Muhammadu Buhari has commended Nigerians for curbing excessive taste for foreign products.
According to the President, the new development has positioned the country for food self-sufficiency and resulted in saving over $21 billion.
Buhari said with farmers’ commitment and the support given by the government, “in no distant future, food importation will be completely alien to us, and we will even export actively, thus reversing our position as a mono- product economy.”
A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, explained that the humongous savings would be deployed to other critical areas like infrastructure, education, healthcare and many others.
Buhari spoke while reacting to recent disclosures by the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at the 2018 Annual Bankers’ Dinner, where he said: “Noticeable declines were steadily recorded in our monthly food import bill from $665.4 million in January 2015 to $160.4 million as at October 2018, a cumulative fall of 75.9 per cent and an implied savings of over US$21 billion on food imports alone over that period.
He added: “Most evident were the 97.3 per cent cumulative reduction in monthly rice import bills, 99.6 per cent in fish, 81.3 per cent in milk, 63.7 per cent in sugar, and 60.5 per cent in wheat. We are glad with the accomplishments recorded so far.”
The CBN governor equally spoke on the number of jobs created in the agriculture sector:
“In the agriculture sector, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) has ensured that Nigeria emerged from being a net importer of rice to becoming a major producer, supplying key markets in neighboring countries. As at October 2018, a total number of 862,069 farmers cultivating about 835,239 hectares, across 16 different commodities, have so far benefited from Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, which has generated 2,502,675 jobs across the country.”
On the number of jobs created in the agriculture sector and the achievements recorded by Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), Buhari described the development as “heart-warming”.
The President said it was just a matter of time before a significantly positive impact would be made in the statistics of the unemployed in the country, particularly from the agriculture sector.
He added: “We are on a productive voyage, which would see the ship of state berthing at the harbour of food self-sufficiency, gainful jobs, peace and prosperity for Nigerians.”