17 February 2013, Lagos — Dr John Osemede, the Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has urged the Federal Government to invest a part of Nigeria’s foreign reserve on infrastructure.
Osemede, who gave this advice at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum, said that the reserve should be invested on critical infrastructure of the economy.
He said that it was expedient to invest a part of the reserve because of the inconsistency in foreign exchange rate, which could bring about depreciation in the value of the currency in subsequent years.
“There should be a minimum import cover for three months in Nigeria, and the government should invest in areas like agriculture and job creation.
“There are so many areas where Nigeria has comparative advantage, which are not being optimally utilised.
“For instance, there is a huge production of onions and garlic in the northern part of the country, yet most Nigerians import onion and garlic powder.
“Also, Benin and Ebute-metta in Lagos are rich in all kinds of wood, yet we import foreign wood materials from abroad,” he said.
He stressed the need for a value-chain in agriculture, where mechanised farming would bring about a wider expansion, processing of agricultural products and provide more jobs.
He also advised that a part of the reserve should be channeled toward the development and creation of more functional research centres.
According to him, the increase in the volume of the foreign reserve should be visible in the per capita income of the average Nigerian.