…as 18th JPB meeting begins in Asaba
By Festus Ahon
FEDERAL Ministry of Budget and National Planning, yesterday urged State Governments to key into the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme AADS as part of the effort towards the diversification of the country’s economy through agriculture.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Ernest Umakhihe who spoke at the 18th Joint Planning Board, JPB meeting in Asaba, Delta State, said this year’s theme, “State Fiscal Sustainability and Economic Diversification in Nigeria” was apt. adding that the over dependence on oil and gas has been the reason for under developing the commerce and industry.
Saying the country’s Gross Domestic Products, GDP reports had constantly indicated that oil and gas sector dominated other sectors in terms of contributions to national GDP, Umakhihe said; “Ironically, other important sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade whose contributions to states’ GDP have remained insignificant.
“This implies that states really need to concentrate on agriculture, manufacturing, industrialization and commercial activities. I, therefore, urge all the representatives of the states to encourage their respective state governors to tap into the AADS of the CBN.
“This scheme is intended to provide N1.5 billion loan to each state government to enable them clear designated plots of land for youths to engage in commercial agriculture”, adding that the federal government Anchor Borrowers Scheme has led to the country’s self-sufficiency in rice and other crops.
Declaring the session open, Secretary to the Delta State Government, SSG, Mr Chiedu Ebie, said the meeting was timely considering the trajectory in the economic landscape.
Ebie who was represented by the State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Barry Gbe, told participants at the meeting to generate and provide a guide to improving on the country’s economic growth plans.