In a bid to reduce the cost of rice, the Nigerian government plans to subsidize the production of rice in the country, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Osinbajo stated this at an interactive session between the government and public and civil servants on Wednesday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The session is a follow up to the meeting held last Thursday with civil and public servants in the higher cadre.
The meetings followed the three Executive Orders signed last week by the acting president geared towards ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Osinbajo said that countries from which rice is imported into Nigeria subsidize the production of the commodity, making it cheaper in their countries.
“It is our own business, as government, to ensure that we introduce the same kinds of help and assistant to our farmers by subsidizing the production and by subsidizing even farm to market of rice so that our rice will be competitive, he said, assuring that “in the coming months, our rice will compete with rice anywhere else in the world.”
He said the importation of rice from other countries creates jobs in those countries, leaving the teaming population of Nigerians unemployed.
“When we import rice and buy imported rice, we are creating jobs for farmers in China, India, Thailand and Vietnam ,” Osinbajo stated, pointing out that “when we insist on buying our own local rice, we are creating jobs for the farmers in Kebbi, in Kano, in Jigawa, in Kano, in Ebonyi and various other places where rice is produced.”
The Acting President said obstacles that militate against business establishment in Nigeria attack the prosperity of the country while delays caused by civil servants in the establishment of businesses kill jobs and prosperity.
He said: “Anytime, the public officer is an obstacle to business in anyway, he attacks the prosperity of our economy; he attacks the prosperity of our future. It means that our children will not find jobs.”
Speaking at the meeting, the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, said the interactive session would produce positive result.
She said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledges the key role civil servants have to play in its policies and have decided to bring them into its plans to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
She advised civil servants to demonstrate their commitment to the ease of doing business policy by ensuring that they do whatever they have to do to assist them.
Making a presentation on two of the Executive Orders signed by the acting president last week, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the vision of the Buhari administration was to move Nigeria 20 places in the World Bank Ranking Order on the ease of doing business.
He said President Buhari has prioritized businesses, focusing on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs.
He said the administration commissioned the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, with ten ministers, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Head of Service of the Federation as well as representatives of the private sector to drive its policy on ease of doing business.
Among issues raised by some of the civil servants who attended the meeting were workers’ welfare and feedback mechanism on compliance with the executive orders.