Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Nigeria – Jonathan "I will use private sector to drive the economy



New Generation Africa endorses President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday about his government plan to engage with the private sector.  He said the private sector holds the key to getting Nigeria’s economy out of the woods, hence has assured that if given the mandate for the next four years, he would use Nigerians home and abroad to drive the nation’s economy.

He has also given his commitment to ending rice importation in the next four years if elected into office.
President Jonathan made the commitment at a breakfast meeting where he got the endorsement for continuity from Nigerian businessmen and women in the manufacturing, banking, telecommunications and oil & gas sectors of the economy at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

Jonathan said any leader who is interested in the development of the nation must employ the services of qualified Nigerians both home and abroad.
According to him: “Any leader who wants to build this country must use the people. I will use you and our sons and daughters in the Diaspora to develop this country so that the whole world will be proud of us.”
He said his government was keen on ensuring a vibrant economy stating that no meaningful growth or development could take place without a vibrant and robust economic plan.

He reiterated his plans to stimulate the economy by revitalising the agricultural sector through reviving the irrigation projects and the introduction of modern farming methods in order to make farming attractive to the teeming jobless youths in the country.

To this end, he said government would build five fertiliser plants in five zones of the country to accomplish this goal. The President further assured that government will promote education and ensure security to provide stability for the peace required to guarantee a stable economy.
On the power situation, President Jonathan explained that the process of power transmission has been slow due to stringent laws, but assured that the major hurdle militating against steady supply of power has been tackled and that Nigerians will soon begin to enjoy improved power supply.He also explained that while the issue of security was a global phenomenon, his administration was not relenting in its efforts to tackle it and disclosed that government had purchased some hi-tech equipment to boost national security.

He also said all Nigerians would be involved in the efforts to improve the country, “I promise to use both sons and daughters, at home and abroad to manage our economy, make significant changes that the whole world will be proud of us,” Jonathan assured.
President Jonathan who lamented that despite the huge earnings from crude oil sales, Nigeria spend substantial amount on subsidies, said “If you fix the economy, job must come and that’s why we are emphasizing on agriculture. We must revive all our irrigations because without that we cannot get agriculture right.”

On the eradication of rice importation the president said, “I believe in the next four years, Nigeria must stop importing rice. Even if we are not exporting it, we must be able to produce for our local consumption because it would help the economy. The money we spend on rice importation annually is huge. We must do something about it.”

The President emphasised the need to make agriculture attractive to the younger generation stressing, “There are certain things we must do to make sure we revolutionalize the sector. Younger generation hardly engage in farming because is labour intensive and they see it as demeaning.
We have to make farming attractive to the young people because even if we make micro credit available to peasant farmers (though we will continue to do that), the yield is so low. So we must use mechanised agriculture, we must provide water through dams and work on our irrigation plants, get high yielding variety of crops and we must apply fertilizer.

However New Generation Africa disagrees with the notion of using fertilizer in the modern day mechanised agriculture because of the inherent toxic problem and damage to the soil and believes the President must re-think the issue of applying chemicals or related unhealthy sustances to gurantee heigh yields.

New Generation Africa believes the President deciding to invest in mechanised agriculture is a fantastic news and long over due but strongly oppose investment on chemical fertilisation of our agricultural produce and soil because of the long term health and environmental problems.
We believe the President and Nigeria can do better and will be making representaions to the Presidency highlighting the dangers and advising a re-think of the proposed investment in the agricultural sector.

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