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Shettima Tasks Govs To Develop Agricultural Sector For Self-Sufficiency

BOMA DIPRIYE 

ABUJA, Nigeria – The Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima, has implored Governors of the 36 states of the federation to work towards revamping Nigeria’s agricultural sector, with a view to reducing dependence on food imports and attaining greater food self-sufficiency.

This, he noted, resonates well with the investments and commitment of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to establishing Specialised Agro Processing Zones (SAPZ) in the country.

Sen. Shettima gave the charge yesterday during the 137th meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Vice President is the Chairman of NEC, a statutory body that has the mandate to advise the President on the nation’s economic affairs, with the 36 Governors of the federation, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Minister of Finance and other stakeholders as members.

While delivering his opening address at the meeting, Shettima said, “Our upcoming task must be rooted in recognizing the agrarian nature of our economy. We must strive for deliberate value addition in the agricultural sector, moving away from commodity exports towards job creation.

“Collaboration is vital in enabling the Specialised Agro Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).

“We must develop our agricultural sector towards self-sufficiency and exporting processed agricultural products in line with the African Union’s Africa 2063 Agenda. This also aligns with AfDB’s investments and commitment to establishing the SAPZ. Collaboratively, we should harness our agricultural comparative and complementary advantages across the value chains of priority crops within the SAPZ.”

The Vice President also hinted about the possibility of engaging the private sector in tackling floods and other natural disasters, saying considering the financial implications of managing natural disasters, the government cannot do it alone.

“While urging unity as the nation’s hope, I am aware of the financial implications of managing natural disasters. We cannot tackle this alone. Innovative capital pools from the private sector can help share and mitigate fiscal and economic risks posed by such disasters. This approach has been successful in other African countries, preparing for low-probability yet highly disruptive ‘black swan’ events.

“Once again, we find ourselves bearing the weight of the nation. Since our last gathering, much has transpired, with each event punctuated by the nation’s reactions. None of us here requires a reminder of the direction we are headed or what is required to ensure that we stand together through the storm to fulfill our promises to the people. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you back, back to the 137th meeting of the National Economic Council, our engine room.” He said

Recalling that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had recently highlighted eight presidential priorities for his administration, which serve as a conduit to his Renewed Hope Agenda, Shettima told the governors and other members of Council to get “involved in seeking both short-term palliative and enduring solutions to the consequences of our reforms.”

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