Outgoing governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, has advised the country to spend more on agriculture to ensure a solid plan for the future.
The governor had commended the Federal Government for spending in the agricultural sector N200 billion since 2015, but argued that if N2 trillion is being spent on oil development every year, that there was much more need to spend more in agriculture for a better future.
He warned that should the country fail to plan for the future, it would be sitting on a time bomb, which aftermath would be catastrophic in the next few years.
Yari, who is also the outgoing chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), spoke at the valedictory session of the National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“I will say, yes government has done tremendously well in terms of expanding the economy through agriculture by spending over N200 billion through the anchor borrowers programme, but we need to do more because we all agree that agriculture is the mainstay of this economy.
“It provides over 80 per cent of the employment. So, if N2 trillion can be spent yearly on oil development we need to increase our spending on agriculture too. With what we are seeing as governors, especially from the zone where I come from, the rate of population growth, if nothing is done to address it, I am afraid Mr. Chairman, we are sitting on a time bomb. And that’s the truth,” he said.
Earlier, vice President Osinbajo had told the outgoing governors, “I advise that you should use your influence and reach to the advantage of Nigerian people. You have seen and heard for yourselves the enormity of our national problems. Very few people have the advantage to see closely as we do on the issues that concern our country, the issues that even concern our different states.
“We, here, have that unique advantage. So I think that we can help in one way or the other; we can do something in our states and other states in a way of advocacy or action on education and healthcare in particular and jobs. “I think it is important for those of us who have had the benefit of all of these experience and leadership not to now settle down to a life of business or perhaps of enjoyment or sleeping for eight hours. I need this time for action.”
He also advised the governor to ensure more commitment to issues of national interest and to better the lots of the citizenry adding, “In the next few years, our population will double, with the attendant challenges of jobs, education, health care, security and infrastructure.”
He said, “Every nation that has moved its people from misery to prosperity has depended heavily, in fact, almost completely on the political elite.
‘’Our people have nowhere else to look or to go, it is as they say, at the collective table that the bulk stops,” he said.
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