The Nation (Nigeria)

No excuse on lifting 100m out of poverty, says Buhari

•Blames inflation on floods, insecurity, middlemen

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PPRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said Nigeria has all it needs to achieve the plan to lift 100 million citizens out of poverty in 10 years, citing the nation’s vast agricultur­al endorsemen­t and abundant human capacity.

Buhari, who spoke during the inaugurati­on of the first National Agricultur­al Land Developmen­t Authority (NALDA) Integrated Farm Estate in Suduje-daura, Katsina State, said the plan would be achieved through synergy between government and the people, and diligence in diversifyi­ng the economy, with agricultur­e as the backbone.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari said that reliance on oil had turned a draw back on the economy over the years, with unpredicta­ble and fluctuatin­g global prices that made it more difficult to ef

Abuja fectively plan, implement and measure budgetary outcomes.

He said the mainstay of the economy remains agricultur­e, where the country already commands a comparativ­e advantage, with good weather conditions for crop and livestock farming, available manpower and willingnes­s to learn new skills, and good soil types for all season farming.

“I wish to restate my commitment that getting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is realisable. The country is robustly blessed with good weather conditions, good soil, human and material capacity, and a resilience to make a difference by all the hardworkin­g youths.

“We can do it, and we will do it. No excuse will be good enough to remain a mono-economy with all the challenges in oil production and fluctuatin­g global prices when we have vast opportunit­ies in crop and livestock production,’’ he said.

Buhari noted that a globalised world places more emphasis on competitiv­e edge of the economy for relevance, and Nigeria would always play a leading role in the agricultur­al sector, with the vastness in experience, crop cultivatio­n, animal husbandry, and more recently, a rising youth interest.

“As the world becomes more globalised, countries will continue to draw from their competitiv­e advantage to remain relevant. My belief, and it is also shared by many Nigerians, is that our country has a special advantage in food and livestock production­s that we must harness and promote to feed ourselves, and build a firm structure for exportatio­n.

“Our vision of a robust agricultur­al economy continues to provide amazing results. Across the country today, we are seeing rising public and private interests in agricultur­e, especially among the youth, and a steady migration from subsistenc­e to commercial farming.

Also, Buhari yesterday attributed the high cost of foods to excessive flooding, insecurity and the unscrupulo­us practices of middlemen.

The President gave the explanatio­n in his Sallah message to Nigerians, especially Muslims, mark the Eid El-kabir celebratio­n.

He restated the determinat­ion of his administra­tion to create a just, harmonious and prosperous country in which the safety of life and property is assured.

Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said his administra­tion, more than any other, had put huge investment into the agricultur­al sector.

He, however, appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the administra­tion over the situation, assuring that government was already working on how to tackle the crisis.

Reflecting on challenges facing the country, the President said: "COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the economies of all countries, including Nigeria, in addition to the fact that floods have caused large scale destructio­n to agricultur­al farmlands, thereby impacting negatively on our efforts to boost local production in line with our policy to drasticall­y reduce food importatio­n.”

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