By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA—THE contribution of the agricultural sector to Nigeria’s gross domestic product, GDP, has increased from 23.86 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 24.18 percent, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said yesterday.
The 24.18 percent increase, the bank said, showed that the sector was larger than manufacturing and oil sectors combined, adding that it grew from 6.28 percent to 9.50 percent in the same year.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said this in Abuja at the opening of 2016 Nigeria Agri-Finance Conference, with the theme Catalyzing the Diversification of Nigerian Economy Through Effective Agricultural Finance.
Emefiele, who was represented by Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, CBN, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, noted that over 70 percent of informal sector jobs created in the economy were related to rural agriculture.
Adelabu said that diversification of Nigeria’s economy was no longer an option, with an annual food imports bill of over N630 billion, poverty and unemployment rate of 9.9 percent.
According to him, CBN in 2014 took proactive measures to diversify the economy by selecting six focal agricultural commodities, including rice, wheat, cotton, sugar, fish and oil palm, for intensive support under its agricultural interventions.
The decision, he said, became necessary because of the high contribution of the commodities to the nation’s food import bills.
The CBN governor added that Nigeria must reposition its economy to attain inclusive growth and global competitiveness.