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Agriculture Agriculture and more Agriculture by Edward Akinlade

Abuja Exodus

“The paltry amounts allocated to agriculture exemplified the misplaced priorities of most of the states’ budgets. Rural Anambra budgeted less than 2 per cent for agriculture, Bauchi with 80 per cent of its population engaged in farming allocated only 5.5 per cent of its budget to agriculture, and Edo allocated only 1 per cent and Gombe with its arable Land and 80 per cent to agriculture. These poor allocations are in contexts of high levels of poverty and unemployment is respectively 25.7 per cent and 29 per cent, which are above the national average of 21.1 per cent. For states like these, attracting businesses and encouraging SME’s should be the front-burning issue. Increasing the budgets of agriculture, mining and tourism to address constraints in the value chains should be the governor’s priorities.” THIS DAY, back-page, Friday August 3, 2012 by Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai.

 The federal government shamefully allocated N79billion out of a total proposed budget of N4.7trillion for 2012, Will our people benefit from this pathetic 1.6% as compared to N1trillion allocated for defence. The foundation set by our forefathers is been uprooted by both federal and states government policies. 

Some 10 years ago while residing in London, I had a revelation that I should write to the then president suggesting that the excess crude accounts should be used to Grow Nigeria initiatives back to its 60’s ranking as net exporter of food and cash crops. So I wrote letters to Abuja addressed to the president in 2002 seven times. However since the objectives of every successive administration was to milk our Oil and Gas reserves dry, not a single response was received nor was my Grow Nigeria initiatives ever adopted.

Governments has no business in business

Successful governments since 1975 have failed to create any meaningful jobs via investing trillions in businesses for our youths following many promises. However millions of Jobs can be created by investing in agriculture within 12 months.

Show me one successful government business enterprise in Nigeria since 1975 and I will show you PHCN, NITEL, Nigeria Airways, Nigeria Port Authority, Ajaokuta Steel rolling Mill, Katsina Steel rolling mill, Nigeria coal corporation, Kaduna petro-chemical refinery Limited, Port Harcourt petro-chemical refinery Limited, petroleum pipe-line corporation Sagamu, Nigeria Railway, e.t.c.

Effects of ignoring Agriculture for 37 years?

 1. Massive unemployment

 2. High Food Prices

 3. Dead Industries due to imports dependency 

4. Record inflation

 5. Spending N4.2trillons annually as net importer of food

 6. High Interest rates

 7. Mass exodus of our people to cities in search of Oil wealth

 8. Corruption

 9. Failed and fragile state

 10. Bad Road

 11. Zero electricity

 12. Boko Haram

 13. Dumping ground for capital goods

 14. High Health costs due to consumptions of imported process food 

15. Deepening Poverty Nationwide

 To meet this cure objective all a meaningful government need to do is to create enabling environments to enable the private section grow our agricultural sector.

 So what is the way forward? Grow Nigeria initiatives

 1. Land must be given free of charge for agricultural purposes nationwide

 2. The Federal Government must create a guarantee market for all farms produce through Farms produce commission in all states link to the Abuja commodity exchange prices. 

3. The federal Government through the CBN must give each Local Government in Nigeria Farmers Grant of N1billion each to disburse to existing small scale farmers nationwide.

 4. Existing Farms plantation should be given loan at single digit rates.

 5. Existing and safe Micro Finance Banks across Nigerian must assess single digit rated loan for on lending to existing and new small scale farmers.

 6. Farmers Association of Nigeria must be able to assess single digit rated loan for their member’s benefits.

 7. Nigeria must partner’s nations that are leaders in agriculture worldwide. E.g. Israel, Brazil, Zimbabwe, South African etc. 

8. The CBN must force Nigerian Bank to lean to the real sector. Countries like UK are already forcing banks to lend a percentage of their total assets to the real sector.

 9. The CBN and the Debts Management Office must close down the self-inflicted outrageously high interest payable on risk free borrowing on Bonds and treasury bills. Nigerian Banks are profiteering at 15% guarantee returns (the true rate is around 7%). Why will any Bank lend to the real sector at 18% with risk management constringe set by the CBN. This Pathetic Banking model must be stop. The Federal Government alone allocated over N500billion to service its debts in 2012. 

Within 12months of adopting the above measures we will all see the rewards. 

However our leaders mind is 100% focus on sharing our Oil and Gas revenue through the monthly Abuja allocation model. Show me one Nigerian politician who will implement this Grow Nigeria initiatives and I will show you another thousands greedy politicians who visits Abuja monthly for Oil and Gas revenue that will one day run our country dry.

This is the pathetic and shameful story of our country.

Let us all learn to do the right thing for the benefits of our people.

God bless Nigeria, 

Edward Akinlade @facebook.com

 

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