The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this on Tuesday when he featured in a Current Affairs programme “Focus Nigeria” of a Lagos-based Television station.
“Despite the fact that the production of staples like rice, grains, yam has increased with the agricultural revolution of the government, food items are still on the high side.
“There are many reasons why the prices are still up there but principally, I think it is an infrastructural deficit.
“By this, I mean what it takes to bring the produce from the farms to the farm gates and from the farm gates to the city centres and this may not improve until various road and rail projects are completed.
“The good news, however, is that from October this year, the General Electric, which has the concession for the 3,500 narrow gauge rail routes will commence work.
“The Lagos to Kano standard gauge rail project and the Lagos to Calabar rail lines which will crisscross all the South Eastern States are priority projects of the government.
“That will help in the transportation of goods and services including agricultural produce at a far cheaper fare and that will percolate to the common man,” he said.
The minister said that the government would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Lagos to Ibadan, Kano to Maiduguri and other critical roads across the country were completed.
Mohammed also explained that “there is so much demand for our grains and cereals from other parts of Africa.
“You cannot stop the farmers especially with the ECOWAS Protocols that allows for free movement of goods and services.
“There is also a lot of demand for our grains from other parts of the world and as a matter of fact, we got over N30 billion from agricultural export in the second quarter of this year.
“I believe that with the economy picking up and the various infrastructural development coming up, Nigeria will very soon start to feel some relief.
“Also the Presidential initiative to employ 10,000 people from each state in the agricultural sector will bring succour and a lot of relief,” he said.
Speaking of his hopes and fears for the country, the minister said that, 57 years after independence, he was very confident and optimistic that Nigeria will be great.
“Living together for 57 years as an independent country with all the ups and downs and challenges and we are going stronger in all ramification.
“The present administration is getting its priorities right and focused on the economy, good governance, security and improving the quality of life of Nigerians,” he said.
The minister reiterated the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that with Nigeria exiting recession, the administration would not rest on its oars until the impact is felt by all Nigerians.
He said it was on record that since January, the country had recorded monthly steady reduction in headline inflation.
“Capital inflow has improved from 902 million dollars in the first quarter to 1.792 billion dollars in the second quarter.
“We have been able to add additional 8 billion dollars to our foreign reserve which was 23.7 billion dollars last year, but now 33.5 billion dollars this year.
“Our Balance of Trade has increased, farmers today get fertiliser at N5,500 as opposed to N13,000 before and we were able to deliver the fertilisers to farmers before the planting season.
“These are incremental gains and if we remain focused on our reforms, all these will improve,” he said.
For those criticising the president on his Independence Address to the nation, the minister said that Buhari addressed issues that were Germaine to national development.
He said Buhari’s speech touched on national security, economy, corruption, unity and development as well as the achievements recorded by the administration despite constraints.
The minister said that, though the government had made its position clear on the agitation for restructuring, “the greatest threat we have today is not restructuring but it is about corruption”.
“I make bold to say that corruption is the bane of the country and the biggest threat to our existence.
“Year in year out, huge sums of money are voted for and released for projects that will touch the lives of Nigerians but they are stolen and these projects are left abandoned.
“It is interesting that those people who are vociferous about restructuring are the same people that were in power for 16 years and they did not do anything about restructuring,” he said.
The minister commended the ruling APC for creating the platform to get the aggregate of the views of Nigerians as to what they meant by restructuring.
Yike releases new single ‘Holy Water’
8 trailer load of rice, 23 vehicles, others intercepted by Seme command
Video: Police arrest Don Jazzy’s boys DNA twins in Lekki
Photos Of New Boeing 777-300 Aircraft ‘Anuli Peggy Onyema’ Acquired By Air Peace
ChinneyLove Eze Hosts Celebrities to Pre-Release Party of ‘Hire A Woman’ Movie (Exclusive Pictures)
Cover Of The Week
- Dr Jackie King wins prestigious Stockholm Water Prize March 21, 2019
- African countries can do better with improved fiscal policy, says Songwe March 21, 2019
- International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board Completes the Last Review of Extended Credit Facility for Ghana March 21, 2019
- Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reviews the Report of Senegal March 21, 2019
- WHO sending urgent health assistance after Cyclone Idai displaces thousands of people in Southern Africa March 20, 2019
- Africa Climate Week Signals Continent’s Huge Investment Opportunity March 20, 2019
- Cyclone Idai: UN allocates $20 million in emergency funding, as full extent of disaster continues to emerge March 20, 2019
- FAO and Ministry of Agriculture Formulating Future Scenarios 2050 of Livestock Production Systems March 20, 2019
- UK to provide extra £12 million in UK aid for survivors of Cyclone Idai March 20, 2019
- South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum Encourages Refiners and Traders to Take Part in Upcoming Crude Tenders March 20, 2019
Uncategorized1 month ago
“We are not postponing elections” – INEC
celebrity radar - gossips2 weeks ago
Sir Adebutu Kensington distances self from son’s APM move
celebrity radar - gossips1 month ago
2019 Election: The Nigerian election may likely be postponed because of many challenges. In whatever way, God is in Control “- T B Joshua Reveals
Uncategorized3 weeks ago
‘I haven’t decamped to APC’ – Titi Oseni debunks rumours