FG Says Farmers’ Net Earnings From Agric Sector Has increased To N104Billion
… Nigeria requires $9 trillion GDP to build a resilient economy.—NESG chairman
The Federal Government has disclosed that as a result of the reforms that have taken place in the agricultural sector, the net earnings of farmers have increased to about N104 billion.
The specific crops that have helped to elevate these earnings are cassava, rice, sorghum maize as well as cotton production, according to the government.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed in her remarks at the ongoing 28th Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja.
The theme of the event is: ‘2023 and Beyond: Priorities for Shared Prosperity.
The finance minister stated further that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has recorded achievements in the areas of transformational investments in infrastructure to restore national road networks projects, which she said will be complemented by investments in light rail, narrow and standard gauge rail.
She noted that airport terminals have been completed in Lagos and Abuja, adding that the Abuja airport runway is being reconstructed.
Furthermore, the minister said work is also ongoing on the development of seaports and auxiliary infrastructure to the ports or airports, to ensure efficiency in the transportation sector.
She said efforts are also being made to translate from reliance on oil derivatives to gas as a transition fuel, as government also increases the renewable sources such as solar and hydro in the energy mix.
Also, speaking at the occasions, the Chairman of Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Asue Ighodalo said Nigeria requires a $9 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) within the next 25 years to build a resilient economy.
According to him, government at all levels must identify new innovations in its determination to leave a much better country, especially for a teeming population, stating that “We must succeed in transforming the economy within a time frame in our agenda 2050 which has a time frame of 25years.
The NESG boss advised that Nigeria must have a specified target of increasing GDP per Capital in line with OECD countries and innovate different ways of thinking about economic development.
He believes that Nigeria must grow its GDP between $4.5trn dollars to $9 trillion in the next 25yrs if it must build an economy that would grow at about 15 per annum or more.
Ighodalo bemoaned Nigeria’s low domestic production, noting that improvement in domestic production and macroeconomic stability will improve the country’s global competitiveness”.
The current GDP of Nigeria is $440.8 billion.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while speaking said Nigeria requires partnership, innovative thinking, and most importantly, disciplined implementation, by both government and the private sector to overcome the current economic challenges.
Osinbajo who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the summit also highlighted the need for increased productivity and value addition across different sectors of the economy so as to create more jobs for Nigerians, especially its youths, and increase national revenue for further development.
The Presidential address focused on key issues to drive growth and prosperity, including the National Development Plan 2021 – 2025, and the impact of the Economic Sustainability Plan, among others. He also highlighted key issues such as youth development, improving macroeconomic conditions, the impact of climate change, the need for a just transition to net-zero emissions, the debt-for-climate swap deal for African countries, and the launch of the African Carbon Market Initiative at the ongoing COP-27 in Egypt.
It also focused on leveraging disruptive technologies through digitization for further economic developments, as well as the need to improve social welfare programmes, and focused investment in the country’s youth.
According to the VP, there is “the need for more intentional and focused investment on our youths, especially in globally marketable skills, access to credit, protection of intellectual property rights of innovators, and inventors and access to global markets. I trust that some of these issues will be given deeper attention in your discussions at this summit.
“The task ahead requires partnership, innovative thinking; but, most importantly, disciplined implementation,” he said. Emphasizing improving macroeconomic conditions, the Vice President said, “on the positive side, the economy continues to grow with GDP growth at 3.54 per cent in the 2nd quarter of this year. Non-oil revenues have similarly continued to improve due in part to strategic revenue initiatives, including the annual Finance Act.”
“But it is still our revenue challenges that heighten the notion that we have a debt problem, which is really not the case, given that our debt/GDP ratio is just 23 per cent.”
Noting that although the country’s current debt service to revenue ratio is high, Osinbajo stated that “unlike in the past, when we were not keeping a close eye on debt matters, the creation of the Debt Management Office means that we are better able to adopt strategies to manage our debt, including using more concessional loans, spreading out our debt maturities and re-financing short-term debt with longer-term debt instruments. This is why increasing revenues should engage most of the attention, he stated.
“We have already seen real improvements in our non-oil revenues, but our focus must now be on productivity or encouraging value addition. Productivity and value addition means the creation of traceable value; it means jobs, opportunities, and more tax revenues.” He continued, “to increase productivity, we must free up our environment for business, make local and international trade easier by fixing the ports, effecting the National Single Window, revamping our Customs processes and Tariff codes to reduce delays and arbitrariness, removing needless restrictions on imports to enable value-added processes.”
Similarly, Osinbajo emphasized that Nigeria must also press its advantage in renewable energy, noting that “the futures are the jobs and opportunities from the green economy.” The VP noted that the “Solar Power Naija programme launched under the Economic Sustainability Plan which is designed to achieve 5 million solar connections impacting over 25 million Nigerians will contribute in this regard. But the impact includes opportunities in manufacturing and maintaining solar equipment and facilities.”
He also highlighted local security and economic challenges, and global turbulence on the political, economic, and social fronts, including the Russia-Ukraine war and global tensions, which he noted: “is impacting Africa, including through higher food prices and disruptions to democratic governance.”
With the global economy still recovering from the effects of COVID-19, as well as the challenges posed by climate change, which has caused flooding in several states in Nigeria, the Vice President observed that “it is clear that our work is cut out and we have to choose our priorities going forward very carefully. There is a whole gamut of things that require our attention and many are well captured in the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025.”
On the volatility of the country’s exchange rate, Prof. Osinbajo was of the view that “the discussion that we must have, shorn of sentiments, is how best to manage the situation by finding a mechanism for increasing supply and moderating demand, which will be transparent and will boost confidence.”
He emphasized the need for urgent action to reduce inflation, noting that inflation is both a tax on the poor and disrupts long-term growth. In addition to the monetary measures being taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo stated that “we would need to increase domestic production of food and ensure that it gets to the market.”
“In this regard, we must pay closer attention to the institutional insight of the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Programme of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), which sought to support small-scale farmers by guaranteeing uptake of their production through enabling bigger farmers, suppliers to manufacturing companies and commodity exchanges to support them across every stage of production,” he said.
Addressing the impact of climate change on local economies, the Vice President reiterated Nigeria’s position on the call for just transition and the debt-for-climate swap deals, noting that “these swaps can be a win-win for debtors and creditors.”
According to him, “we must continue to call for a just transition that enables us to use our abundant gas resources to meet our energy needs, including for electricity and cooking. This will enable us to secure the resources needed for investment in natural gas, as well as in renewable forms of energy. I am happy that this matter is on the table at the ongoing COP-27. It should be pursued to its logical conclusion of securing additional finance for developing economies.” Also highlighting the significance of the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative, which was launched last week at COP 27 in Egypt, the VP observed that unlocking the potential of carbon markets in Africa would help raise essential resources to tackle climate change on the continent.
“Since the $100 billion in the financing, which the developed countries promised to help to tackle climate change remains to be fulfilled, we should explore the potential of carbon credits to raise the required resources,” he stated.
Continuing, he said, “it has been estimated that Nigeria could produce more than 30m tonnes of carbon credits annually by 2030, bringing in more than $500m annually. The future is the jobs and opportunities from the green economy. We must press our advantage in renewable energy.”