FG Approves N15 Billion For 2013 Farming Season

 The federal government on Thursday announced the approval of the sum of N15 billion for farmers in the 2013 farming season with a single-digit interest rate.

Vice President Namadi Sambo made this known during his address at the ongoing 19th Nigerian Economic Summit holding in Abuja at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

Sambo, who noted that “government is also mindful of the problems of access to financing and the current high interest rate on funds faced by our farmers” announced that “Mr President approved the sum of 15 billion to the Bank of Agriculture to be provided for our farmers for the 2013 farming season at one-digit low interest rate”.

He was quick to add that the fund is a short term measure even though the minister of agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina recommended a long term continuous plan.

He also announced the decision of the federal government to privatize the Bank of Agriculture through the National Privatisation Council (NCP) so as to “unbundle it and make it possible to provide cheaper funds for agriculture and allow other investors to participate in our agricultural bank”.

He further revealed that the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is working on the establishment of a Nigerian Development Bank in order to allow access of funds for infrastructure development that will provide long term and low interest rate in Nigeria.

Agriculture Can Make You Have Your Own Private Jet – Jonathan Tells Young Farmers

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria while addressing the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit, on Tuesday, encouraged youths of the nation to participate in the agricultural sector which can help them become private jet owners.

The President commended the youth who are now shifting away from the mindset that agriculture is a “simple poverty-alleviation programme” and encouraged them “to begin to think that agriculture can make you have your own private jet.”

The economic summit, which provides an opportunity to discuss issues with a view to providing practical solutions, is organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The summit is also the “foremost platform for dialogue between the public and private sectors,” for which the President thanked the organisers, for ensuring consistency for the annual event.

In his address, the President stated that the summit is coming at a critical time in the nation’s political history, following the launch of his administration’s mid-term report on the transformation agenda, on May 29th.

He stressed the government’s determination to “lay a solid foundation for the transformation of the country’s agricultural sector for enhanced growth and development”.

“The country is more determined than ever to unlock the great potentials of agriculture in order to ensure food security, create jobs and generate wealth,” he said, adding that it is “part of our continued effort to demonstrate our drive and commitment to work with the private sector to make agriculture once again, the main stay of our economy”.

This year’s summit focuses on the agricultural sector, which the President said he is not totally in agreement with because “you cannot discuss agriculture without discussing land. You cannot discuss agriculture without talking about farm managers, agronomists, agric engineers and agric economists, and that is education.”

He highlighted other sectors of the economy such as transportation, trade, finance and petroleum.

He also expressed satisfaction in the participation of middle class citizens adding that the involvement of the middle class signals the “beginning of a proper revolution”.

The 19th Nigerian Economic Summit currently on-going, is the third in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The event which is broadcast by Channels Television in Abuja has members of the National Assembly, Federal Executive Council, Members of the Economic Summit Group, Captains of industries and other guests in attendance.