Rice Imports Will Stop This Year, Says Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria will stop rice imports this year.
The President said this in his New Year broadcast to Nigerians on Monday morning, while assuring Nigerians that the government “is slowly stabilising the economy”.
Government officials have repeatedly pointed to an upsurge in rice production as one of the signs that the current administration’s plans to diversify the economy was achieving the desired results.
The President shares the same view and is satisfied with the progress made. Beyond the economic implication of self-sufficiency in rice production, President Buhari also expects Nigerians to get nutritional benefits from locally produced rice.
“Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to restructure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on,” he said.
President Buhari explained that it was in order to change the steady and steep decline in the economy that the government adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan.
Although the President is satisfied that “diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors” and the relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance”, he believes more discipline is needed going forward.
“We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management,” he said, adding, “The days of business, as usual, are numbered”.
With unemployment at record levels in the country, the President is keen to see more enterprising people rising to the task of nation-building.
“I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector,” he said. “Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.”