Democracy Day: Buhari calls for return to farm

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to take advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector.

He said such action will help in the growth of the country’s economy.

In his nationwide broadcast to Nigerians on Friday Morning, Buhari said that agriculture remained the key to the country’s economic diversification strategy.

According to him, the Fertilizer Initiative program continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to the farmers.

He also stated that this initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain.

”Government is also revamping the cotton, textile, and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that would considerably reduce foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports.

”Through the food security initiative, we are promoting “Grow What We Eat” and “Eat What We Grow”.

” I am also delighted that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector.

”I assure you that the government will continue to support the Agriculture sector through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.

”To protect our farming investments, we have deployed 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 in our para-military agencies.

”We are also integrating rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.

”Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.

”Africa presents a huge opportunity for our export base diversification and we are developing our strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

”Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.

”This development is due to the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system, seamless processing of business registration, and reduction of cost of registering business by 50%.

”We are confident that on-going efforts would result in further improvement of this rating,” the President said.

Buhari further stated that his government remained committed to expanding our mining sector.

According to him, a directive for the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing has been given.

”With foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, we are harnessing the supply value chain in gold production,” he added.

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