President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration has saved Nigeria from trouble by persuading citizens to return to agriculture.
Agriculture was Nigeria’s main source of income before crude oil was discovered in the 1970s.
Speaking at a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Buhari said unemployed Nigerians, especially those without education, were persuaded to engage in agricultural activities.
A statement issued by Garba Shehu, the presidential spokesman, on Tuesday quoted the president as saying his administration had stopped importing food to allow agriculture to flourish.
He said such efforts have also resulted in job creation and poverty reduction.
“To get back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go to agriculture,” he said.
“If we had not returned to earth, we would be in trouble by now. That is why we practically stopped importing food, thus saving jobs and foreign currency. “
Addressing the issue of loans taken under his administration, Buhari said the loans are being used to finance infrastructure in order to attract foreign investment to the country.
The documents had shown that Nigeria owes China $ 3.121 billion as of March 31, 2020.
According to the Office of Debt Management (DMO), this represents 3.94 per cent of Nigeria’s total public debt, which stood at $ 79.303 billion as of March 31 (N28.6 trillion).
Nigeria’s total debt to China also accounts for 11.28% of its total foreign debt stock of $ 27.67 billion.
The cable had highlighted the details of 11 projects financed by Chinese $ 3.1 billion loan.
“We have so many infrastructure challenges. “We just have to borrow to build roads, railways and energy, so that investors find us attractive and come here to invest their money,” he said.
“COVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries. We are lucky to be back on earth. We eat what we produce. We are doing our best to secure the site and provide the infrastructure for the investments to be feasible in the country. “
Buhari vowed to continue drawing on the wisdom, knowledge and experience of PEAC members as the nation deals with difficult economic times.
According to presidential spokesman Ayo Salami, chairman of PEAC, presented the council’s recommendations on poverty reduction and stimulating non-debt investment inflows.
He said the council recommended steps for the effective implementation of government plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, as well as measures to curb poverty inequality in Nigeria.
The presidential spokesman said the council promised to set out a comprehensive policy document that would stop, in the first place, more Nigerians from falling into poverty and then, further plans to reduce the number of poverty in the country.
“PEAC also outlined a number of measures aimed at aggressively increasing the country’s non-debt investment inflow, including measures to improve investors’ perception of the country and the proposed creation of a $ 5 billion, $ 10 billion investment fund to invest , “the statement said.
“She listed the implementation of the reforms included in the Allied Companies and Affairs Act (CAMA) 2020 recently signed into law, reforms in the energy sector, bringing electricity and fuel prices in line with the market and the decision of the Central Bank of “Nigeria to unify the naira exchange rate against other currencies.”
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