President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria would have been in trouble by now if his government hadn’t forced unemployed Nigerians to go into agriculture.
Buhari stated this during a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at the State House, in Abuja on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.
According to him, his government’s decision enforce the stoppage of food importation, helped boost agriculture in the county and saved Nigerians from joblessness.
The President stressed that practicing agriculture locally is vital in boosting productivity, reducing joblessness, and poverty in the country.
“For us to bounce back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go into agriculture.
“If we hadn’t gone back to the lands we would have been in trouble by now. That is why we virtually stopped the importation of food thereby saving jobs and foreign exchange.”
President Buhari said COVID-19 had placed Nigeria at par with developed countries, but agriculture had come to the rescue.
“COVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries. We are lucky we went back to the land. We eat what we produce.
“We are doing our best to secure the country and provide infrastructure for investment to be viable in the country,” he said.
Buhari also defended borrowing by his administration, saying he borrows in the interest of the country to address the infrastructure deficit, fix roads, rail and attract investments.
“We have so many challenges with infrastructure. We just have to take loans to do roads, rail, and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money,’’ the President said.
He regretted that the failure to provide the infrastructure for effective transportation deprived the country of its well-deserved status as the West African hub for Air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.