By Simdi Gloria:-
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that his administration will keep a keen eye on food inflation in the New Year.
the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in a statement said the assurance was given by President Buhari at the fifth regular meeting with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council held on Tuesday at the State House, Abuja.
President Buhari directed that the CBN “must not give money to import food. Already, about seven states are producing all the rice we need. We must eat what we produce.”
He noted the strides made in agricultural production following the programme of diversification from over-reliance on oil instituted by his administration with so much satisfaction.
“Going back to the land is the way out. We depend on petrol at the expense of agriculture. Now the oil industry is in turmoil.
”We are being squeezed to produce at 1.5 million barrels a day as against a capacity to produce 2.3 million.
”At the same time, the technical cost of our production per barrel is high, compared to the Middle East production,” he said.
The place of agriculture in the efforts to restore the economy was emphasized. But also noted that measures must be put in place to curtail inflation in the country.
“We will continue to encourage our people to go back to the land. Our elite is indoctrinated in the idea that we are rich in oil, leaving the land for the city for oil riches.
”We are back to the land now. We must not lose the opportunity to make life easier for our people. Imagine what would have happened if we didn’t encourage agriculture and closed the borders. We would have been in trouble,” he added.
In attendance were the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as well as Ministers of Finance and Humanitarian Affairs. The meeting was for a review of, and reflections on the global and domestic economy in the outgoing year.
The deterioration in international economic environment was noted in the meeting and its impact on Nigeria’s continuing but fragile economic recovery.
The meeting emphasized the need for the primary source of investment to be the private sector of the economy rather than the government as Nigeria’s economic growth seems to be challenged by infrastructural deficiencies and limited resources for government financing.
Progress towards structural reforms was reviewed in the meeting; the institution of the Economic Sustainability Plan and the changes in electricity tariff and fuel pricing regime, the partial re-opening of the Land Borders, the movement towards the unification of exchange rates and budgetary reforms through Finance Bill 2020 and 2021.
It was agreed in the meeting that for the country to be prep for the challenges ahead, Macro-economic stability must be ensured and as well create certainty and re-build investor confidence in the economy.
the need to deepen structural reforms initiated by the administration as a basis for stimulating investments from domestic and international sources with a view to raising productivity in key sectors of the economy Was emphasized.
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