Nigerian Government to give more incentives to farmers

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

The Nigerian government is set to give more incentives, which may include subsidy, to farmers to enable them lower the cost of their production and prevent dumping of imported agricultural products into Nigeria.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo gave the indication while speaking at the meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Osinbajo said the PEBEC was working with the Ministries of Agriculture and Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and some other agencies to work out incentives that would lower agricultural goods in the country.

“We are working together to put together an incentive regime for our farmers to ensure that our farmers  will also be able to compete,” Osinbajo said, adding that “whatever thing the other countries are doing to make their products cheap, we will do the same and even do better for our farmers.”

Professor Osinbajo said he was not worried about the high cost of locally produced rice in Nigeria, insisting that it would be for a short period.

He said the countries that export rice to Nigeria subsidize production of rice, making their rice cheaper than what Nigerian rice farmers and millers can currently deliver.

He said such countries subsidize to create jobs for their farmers and millers, and pointed out that “if we continue importing we are simply transferring our farmers’ and millers’ jobs to countries that export rice or anything else to us”

Buy Nigerian

Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari has made it a cardinal policy of his administration that Nigerians must grow what they eat and make what they use.

According to him, this principle of “buy Nigerian; use Nigerian” is also enunciated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Buhari administration.

He said all countries of the world know that trade is serious business because that is what fuels employment at home and makes countries grow and have ensured that all impediments to trade are removed.

Professor Osinbajo said Nigerian professionals excel in many parts of the world who know what to do at anytime.

He, however, stated that the main challenge has been performance and challenged Nigerian professionals to do more to demonstrate excellence in whatever job they see themselves in Nigeria.

He said that PEBEC was able to hit 70% of the targets set in the 60-day National Action Plan on the ease of doing business in Nigeria because every person and agency involved in the plan was able to perform.

Making a presentation at the meeting, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, outlined the progress made in the 60-day Action Plan on the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

The ministers of budget and planning, finance, departments and agencies of government as well as members of the organised private sector attended the meeting.