The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has said that Nigeria spends about $22bn a year on food importation.
Lokpobiri made this known on Saturday at a town hall meeting with stakeholders in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Before the town hall meeting which took place at the auditorium of Achievers Farms Limited, the minister and his entourage had visited many farms in the state.
He said the development had led to the astronomical rise in prices of rice and other products, stressing that if Nigerians failed to produce some of the items being imported before December, the price of rice would skyrocket to N40,000.
He said there was a projection that by 2050, Nigeria’s population would be 450 million, wondering what would happen then if the people could not feed themselves now.
Lokpobiri said, “For your information, we spend about $22bn a year importing food into Nigeria. We know how many more dollars they bought and that is why you see the price of rice going up.
“Price of rice was N12,000 some months ago, but it is now about N26,000 and if we don’t start producing, by December, it could be N40,000.
“Rice matures in three months. So, this is a wake-up call for Bayelsa people to take the four farms we have seriously. The Federal Government has four farms in the state. The average land you see in Bayelsa can grow rice, so the colonial masters were not wrong in their assessment when they said Niger Delta could feed not only Nigerians but also the entire people of West African sub-region.
“Unfortunately, agriculture till today is not a priority of the Niger Delta as far as the state governments are concerned because of oil.”
He said the states in the Niger Delta had yet to give priority to agriculture the way the states in the North-West such as Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano as well as other states like Lagos, Ebonyi, Anambra, prioritised it.
He said Anambra State, for instance, was not owing salaries despite the fact that it does not have oil but was raking in money by merely exporting vegetables.
The minister, who decried the destruction of the region’s resources by militants, said agriculture was one sure way of discouraging militancy.
Lokpobiri said, “And the only way we can take our people out of militancy is actually through agriculture and this is also an opportunity to tell our people that the most important resources to any man are land and water resources.
“By the time you are blowing up pipelines, you are actually damaging the water resources. Today, people say it will take 20 years to clean up Ogoni and we are blowing up our pipelines. We are the people suffering from our own decision, from our own wrong action. So, the time has come for change from blowing up pipelines as a way of drawing attention to constructive engagement.”
Nigeria Allotted $3.35bn From IMF’s Special Drawing Rights(SDRs)
Nigeria has secured about $3.35 billion as part of a historic general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This is part of the general allocation of about SDR456 billion – an equivalent of $650 billion – by the IMF Board of Governors.
This will help to boost liquidity in Nigeria that is currently battling declining revenue.
The allocation which was approved on Monday aims to boost global liquidity at a time when the world is grappling with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This is a historic decision – the largest SDR allocation in the history of the IMF and a shot in the arm for the global economy at a time of unprecedented crisis,” said IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva.
Although it is not a currency, the SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF to supplement the official reserves of its member countries.
It is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members and can provide a country with liquidity. The SDR is defined by the US dollar, Euro, Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, and the British Pound.
The amount allocated to Nigeria is as a result of the exchange rate of reference which is 0.702283 SDR to a dollar as of July 1, 2021, and Nigeria has 2.4545 billion SDRs.
“The SDR allocation will benefit all members, address the long-term global need for reserves, build confidence, and foster the resilience and stability of the global economy,” the IMF managing director added.
“It will particularly help our most vulnerable countries struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”
According to the IMF, the general allocation of SDRs will become effective on August 23 and the newly created SDRs will be credited to IMF member countries in proportion to their existing quotas in the Fund.
It stated that about $275 billion (about SDR 193 billion) of the new allocation will go to emerging markets and developing countries, including low-income countries.
UN Chief Welcomes Historic’ IMF Liquidity Boost for Governments in Need
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate restrictions on government spending throughout the world, the UN chief on Tuesday welcomed the decision by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to approve a $650 billion allocation of Special Drawing Rights to “boost liquidity”.
Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement on the policy change towards Special Drawing Rights or SDRs, a type of foreign reserve asset that is IMF defined and maintained, as additional funding that could help to pay down debts.
He also underscored that economies not in need of access to cash should “consider channeling these resources to vulnerable low and middle-income countries that need a liquidity injection by replenishing the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust Fund”.
Yesterday’s IMF’s allocation makes new borrowing available to the fund’s 190 member countries, roughly in proportion to their share of the global economy.
“This is a historic decision – the largest SDR allocation in the history of the IMF and a shot in the arm for the global economy at a time of unprecedented crisis”, said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.
“The SDR allocation will benefit all members, address the long-term global need for reserves, build confidence, and foster the resilience and stability of the global economy. It will particularly help our most vulnerable countries struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Halting debt default
The Secretary-General stressed that it is also “critical to quickly establish the proposed Resilience and Sustainability Trust at the IMF…[for] a comprehensive response and recovery, including providing more support for vaccinations and debt management and to support the efforts of developing economies in restructuring for inclusive growth”.
Last month, he urged the world’s largest economies to spearhead a global COVID-19 vaccination plan and expand debt relief to developing countries battered by the pandemic.
Bulwark against default
He also advised supporting a new $50 billion IMF investment roadmap aimed at ending the pandemic and driving a fast recovery.
As many developing countries are “teetering on the verge of debt default”, the UN chief encouraged the G20 leading industrialized nations to channel unused SDRs to the Fund’s new resilience and sustainability plan, for these nations.
“Special Drawing Rights also need to be considered as additional funding, not deducted from Official Development Assistance”, he reminded.
IMF Approves Largest SDR Allocation In History to Boost Global Liquidity
The Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) equivalent to US$650 billion (about SDR 456 billion) on August 2, 2021, to boost global liquidity.
“This is a historic decision – the largest SDR allocation in the history of the IMF and a shot in the arm for the global economy at a time of unprecedented crisis. The SDR allocation will benefit all members, address the long-term global need for reserves, build confidence, and foster the resilience and stability of the global economy. It will particularly help our most vulnerable countries struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said.
The general allocation of SDRs will become effective on August 23, 2021. The newly created SDRs will be credited to IMF member countries in proportion to their existing quotas in the Fund.
According to the IMF, about US$275 billion (about SDR 193 billion) of the new allocation will go to emerging markets and developing countries, including low-income countries.
“We will also continue to engage actively with our membership to identify viable options for voluntary channeling of SDRs from wealthier to poorer and more vulnerable member countries to support their pandemic recovery and achieve resilient and sustainable growth”, Ms. Georgieva said.
One key option is for members that have strong external positions to voluntarily channel part of their SDRs to scale up lending for low-income countries through the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). Concessional support through the PRGT is currently interest-free.
The IMF is also exploring other options to help poorer and more vulnerable countries in their recovery efforts. A new Resilience and Sustainability Trust could be considered to facilitate more resilient and sustainable growth in the medium term.
In April last year, Nigeria collected $3.4 billion—equivalent to 100 percent of its quota— under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument, RFI, to tackle the funding gaps created by COVID-19, especially when the crude oil market stagnated.
The financial support, approved by the IMF Executive Board on April 28, 2020, provided critical support to shore up Nigeria’s healthcare sector and shielded jobs and businesses from the shock of the COVID-19 crisis while helping to limit the decline in the nation’s external reserves.
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