“We must develop our agric sector to self-sufficiency”, VP Shettima tells Governors

Vice-President, 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.

While delivering his opening address at the meeting, VP Shettima said, “Our upcoming task must be rooted in recognising 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 Specialized Agro Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with the Africa Development Bank (AfDB)”.

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.

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”.

The committee’s report was based on the recommendations and findings of previous research efforts namely: the Preliminary Assessment of the Impact of Flood Disaster by the NEC Ad-hoc Committee; the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (2022) by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs; the Report of the Presidential Committee on Development of a Comprehensive Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disasters in Nigeria (2022), and several other policy documents relating to flood disaster and response in Nigeria.

The Vice-President noted that the selection of States in the next phase of the SAPZ programme would be determined by the commitment and determination of each State government. He urged State governments to maximize the benefits of opportunities created by multilateral organisations headed by Nigerians such as the African Development Bank and the African Export-Import (AFREXIM) Bank.

Shettima also called on a weekly comprehensive report on the SAPZ programme from the Ministry of Agriculture, noting that he will personally supervise the implementation of the scheme. 

He added that the Minister of Finance will release N20 billion by next week for the project on a public-private partnership (PPP).

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