26 February 2014, Kaduna – The Former Special Adviser on Food Security to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has said that Nigeria’s vision to be among the 20th largest economy in the world is unattainable.
Delivering a lecture at the 35th Kaduna International Trade Fair Seminar, he said for Nigeria economy to compete with other developed nations, there is need for government at all levels to provide agricultural infrastructures to the sector, which used to be the main source of revenue of the economy before the advent of oil.
He said the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), did not help agriculture production because of the devaluation of naira which increased the cost of production and procurement of agricultural inputs.
“What Nigerian farmers need is what will help them produce and not just prayers. No prayer will drop maize from the sky, what they need is infrastructures. When SAP came, it sapped the rest of the economy, it sapped the agriculture, the naira and everything meaningful” he lamented.
According to him, countries devalue their currency when they want to borrow, but Nigeria has nothing to devalue, except oil, which he said is already being sold in dollars.
He noted that lending to the agricultural sector should not be more than one digit interest rate, adding that the farmers need indigenous technology to help them improve their produce and if the economy must improve, the people need to go back to agriculture.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, said policies and implementation is one major challenge that the country has as different governments comes up with different policies and implementations, and when they leave office, those policies and implementations dies and soon another government comes in with a new one.
*Naomi Uzor – Vanguard