Posted on October 4, 2017
The importation of rice into Nigeria dropped by 88.4 per cent in one year, the Federal Government announced on Friday.
It stated that rice importation dropped from 500,000 metric tonnes imported in 2015 to 58,000MT in 2016.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this to delegates who participated at the Nigeria Agricultural Joint Sector Review in Abuja.
In his speech, which was read by the ministry’s Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, Mr. Auwal Mai-Dabino, the minister said, “As part of government’s commitments towards reforming the sector for better results, the National Agricultural Land Development Authority and the three universities of agriculture have been restored back to the ministry.
“Steps have been taken toward recapitalisation of the Bank of Agriculture and provision of available sulphate to fertiliser blending plants. These efforts have led to the reduction of rice importation from 500,000MT in 2015 to 58,000MT in 2016, and increased the volume of production through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.”
On the purpose of the joint sector review, Ogbeh said it was to assess the progress made in policy implementation in Nigeria’s agricultural sector with respect to the Malabo Declaration under the context of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, Agricultural Promotion Policy and other existing policies, programmes and projects across the country.
“The review period is 2015 to 2016 and all stakeholders are expected to be part of the process. That is why all of you have been invited,” he told the delegates and stakeholders who were drawn from all the states of the federation.
The minister stated that in line with the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development recently identified 10 prioritised projects that would double productivity and improve access to export markets in a sustainable manner.
Ogbeh said, “The present administration will continue to partner and collaborate with all stakeholders through the joint sector review for a realistic and transparent assessment of the performance and results of the sector.
“I believe this will assist the government in setting sector policy and priorities, and serve as management and policy support tool for inclusive stakeholder planning, programming, budget preparation/execution, monitoring and evaluation
In the meantime, full implementation of recommendations in the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit reports will facilitate wealth creation, sustainable revenue flows and national economic development, Executive Secretary of the agency, Waziri Adio, has said.
Mr. Adio stated this in a paper titled, “Transparency in the Extractive Sector: Driving Wealth Creation and Sustainable Revenue as Solution to Economic Recession”, which he presented at the 3rd Annual Lecture of the Dauda Adegbenro Foundation at the University of Ibadan on Wednesday.
Looking at the rich natural resources in oil and gas as well as solid minerals, Mr. Adio lamented the paradox of the country as the world’s eighth largest exporter of crude oil, yet unable to appropriately harness the endowments to benefit the people.
Despite proven reserves of 37.1 billion barrels of crude oil and 180.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, Nigeria remains a net importer of refined petroleum products aimed at meeting the bulk of its local consumption needs.
In the solid minerals sector, Mr. Adio said inspite of Nigeria being blessed with large deposits of 44 different minerals across the country, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, said the sector accounts for only 0.12 per cent of gross domestic product, GDP and 1.45 per cent of total non-oil exports in 2015.
“Despite being a major oil and gas producing country for 60 years, it is clear we have not fully optimised and maximised the opportunities in the oil and gas value chain,” Mr. Adio said.
“Despite the well-acknowledged progress our country is making in EITI implementation, Nigeria is yet to escape resource curse. EITI has not failed us. We, especially at moments of high oil prices, failed ourselves,” he added.
Since Nigeria voluntarily signed up to the NEITI in 2003 and started implementation in 2004, he said NEITI has conducted ”seven cycles of oil and gas, and five of solid minerals audit reports and one Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit.”
These are in addition to the introduction of the ‘NEITI Policy Brief’, ‘NEITI Quarterly Review’ and ‘NEITI Occasional Paper Series’ in the last 18 months, to stimulate further debates and trigger necessary policy actions on prudent, optimal and accountable utilisation of Nigeria’s extractive resources.
“Our country will benefit more from faithfully implementing the recommendations of the NEITI audit reports, which are done at considerable public expense,” he stated.