- GDP: Govt Targets N21tn From Agriculture
The Federal Government has said it will raise the contribution of agriculture to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product by N5tn before 2020.
It stated that the country’s GDP from agriculture, which stood at N16tn in 2015, would be increased to N21tn in the next three years.
It stated strategies being put in place to achieve this feat in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan for 2017 to 2020, which was released last week by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Outlining its policy objectives for the sector, the government said it would “increase agriculture GDP from N16tn in 2015 to N21tn in 2020 at an average annual growth rate of 6.92 per cent from 2017 to 2020.
“Government will significantly reduce food imports and become a net exporter of key agricultural products, such as rice, tomatoes, vegetable oil, cashew nuts, groundnuts, cassava, poultry, fish, livestock and Nigeria will become self-sufficient in tomato paste by 2017; rice by 2018; and wheat by 2019/2020.”
The ERGP document noted that in 2015, agriculture accounted for just 23.1 per cent of the GDP and employed about 38 per cent of the working population.
It divided the country’s agriculture sector into four sub-sectors, which were given as crop production, representing 89 per cent of agriculture GDP and recorded 4.1 per cent growth in 2010-2015; livestock, eight per cent, with 3.3 per cent growth; fishing, two per cent, with 7.5 per cent growth; and forestry, one per cent, with 4.3 per cent growth.
On strategies being put in place to meet the targeted N5tn growth in the GDP, the government said it was supporting the integrated transformation of the agriculture sector by boosting productivity in all the four sub-sectors, as well as improving access to markets.
Outlining some key activities to embark upon, it stated that it would fast-track the development and execution of irrigation projects; enhance agricultural extension services, including through N-Power programmes, from the current ratio of 1:3,000 to 1:1,000 by 2020.
It said it would improve access to finance; extend the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria to all states and major crops and recapitalise the Bank of Agriculture to provide single-digit interest rate credit to small-scale farmers through the network of micro-credit banks.
The government further stated that it would strengthen the CBN schemes to improve access to finance for all players, including the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme, Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme and the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme, which will include long-term sunset clauses.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, had earlier said that the agriculture sector would play a vital role in the economic recovery plan of government.
Lokpobiri, who spoke at an event in Abuja, observed that the government was working to diversify the Nigerian economy, away from oil, using agriculture.
According to him, the government is making concerted efforts to achieve its backward integration programme, adding that this will make Nigeria to be self-sufficient in food production when successfully achieved.
The ERGP document further stated that agriculture in Nigeria was facing four big challenges.
It listed the challenges as limited access to financing and inputs for farmers; serious threat of climate change to yield; limited access of agricultural outputs to the national and international markets; and security threats to agricultural investment including cattle rustling, kidnapping, and destruction of farmlands by herdsmen.
It said most farmers struggled to obtain financing to modernise or expand their farms; as well as invest in productive assets or buy inputs.
It added, “To address these issues, the Federal Government launched the Growth Enhancement Support scheme in 2012 to supply subsidised inputs to smallholder farmers. As of mid-2015, 14 million farmers had registered in the scheme.”
To increase agricultural productivity, it stated that government had also mapped soil characteristics across the country and inaugurated irrigation projects.
NNPC To Resume Oil Exploration In Sokoto Basin
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday announced plans to resume active oil exploration in Sokoto Basin.
A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by NNPC spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, said the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, said exploration for crude would resume in the Sokoto Basin.
The statement read in part, “Kyari also hinted of plans for the corporation to resume active exploration activities in the Sokoto Basin.”
The NNPC boss disclosed this while receiving the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who paid Kyari a courtesy visit in his office on Thursday.
In October 2019, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had during the spud-in ceremony of Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-East, said the government would explore for oil and gas in the frontier basins across the country.
He outlined the basins to include the Benue Trough, Chad Basin, Sokoto and Bida Basins.
Buhari had also stated that attention would be given to the Dahomey and Anambra Basins which had already witnessed oil and gas discoveries.
Kyari restated NNPC’s commitment to the partnership with Kebbi State for the production of biofuels, describing the project as viable and in tandem with the global transition to renewable energy.
He said the rice production programme in the state was a definite boost to the biofuels project.
Kyari said the linkage of the agricultural sector with the energy sector would facilitate economic growth and bring prosperity to the citizens.
He was quoted as saying, “We will go ahead and renew the Memorandum of Understanding and bring in any necessary amendment that is required to make this business run faster.”
The Kebbi State governor expressed appreciation to the NNPC for its cooperation on the biofuel project.
Bagudu said the cassava programme was well on course but the same could not be said of the sugarcane programme as the targeted milestone was yet to be attained.
Kebbi state is one of the states that the NNPC is in partnership with for the development of renewable energy.
Nigeria To Benefit As G-20 Approves Extension Of Debt Relief Till December
Finance ministers of G-20 countries have approved an extension of debt relief for the world’s poorest nations till December 2021.
David Malpass, World Bank president, made the announcement at the virtual spring meeting, on Wednesday.
TheCable had earlier reported that the G-20 countries will meet this week to consider an extension of the debt freeze.
The G-20, is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies, including those of many developing nations, along with the European Union.
G-20 countries had established a debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) which took effect in May 2020.
Nigeria had benefited from the initiative which delivered about $5 billion in relief to more than 40 eligible countries.
The suspension period which was originally set to end on December 31, 2020 was extended to June 2021.
Malpass said the extension to December 2021 will boost economic recovery and promote job creation in low income countries.
He urged countries to be transparent in their approach to the debt service payment extension.
“On debt, we welcome a decision by the G20 to extend the DSSI through 2021. The World Bank is also working closely with the IMF to support the implementation of the G20 Common Framework,” he said.
“In both these debt efforts, greater transparency is an important element: I urge all G20 countries to disclose the terms of their financing contracts, including rescheduling, and to support the World Bank’s efforts to reconcile borrower’s debt data more fully with that of creditors.
“Participation by commercial creditors and fuller participation by official bilateral creditors will be vital. I urge all G20 countries to instruct and create incentives for all their public bilateral creditors to participate in debt relief efforts, including national policy banks. I also urge G20 countries to act decisively to incentivize the private creditors under their jurisdiction to participate fully in sovereign debt relief efforts for low-income countries.
“Debt relief efforts are providing some welcome fiscal space, but IDA countries need major new resources too, including grants and highly concessional resources. From April to December 2020, the first DSSI period, our net transfers to IDA and LDC countries were close to $17 billion, of which $5.8 billion were on grant terms.
“Our new commitments were almost $30 billion, making IDA19 the single largest source of concessional resources for the poorest countries and the key multilateral platform for support. To recover from COVID, much more is needed, and we welcome the G20’s support for advancing IDA20 by one year.”
IMF / Fiscal Monitor Report April 2021 Forecast
Unprecedented fiscal support by governments during the pandemic has prevented more severe economic contractions and larger job losses, but risks remain of long-term scarring the International Monetary Fund says in its Fiscal Monitor report released on Wednesday (April 7) in Washington, DC.
Meanwhile, such support, along with drops in revenues, has raised government deficits and debt to unprecedented levels across all country income groups, said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF.
“The first lesson one year into COVID-19 is that fiscal policy can act timely and decisively. The fiscal policy response was unprecedented in speed and size looking across countries. We also learned that countries with easier access to finance or stronger buffers were able to give more fiscal support. They’re also projected to recover faster,” said Gaspar.
Average overall deficits as a share of GDP in 2020 reached 11.7 percent for advanced economies, 9.8 percent for emerging market economies, and 5.5 percent for low-income developing countries. Countries’ ability to scale up spending has diverged.
“So, what have we learned? We’ve learned that fiscal policy is powerful and that sound public finances are crucial in order to enable that power to be used to the fullest,” stressed Gaspar.
Gaspar urged policy makers to balance the risks from large and growing public and private debt with the risks from premature withdrawal of fiscal support, which could slow the recovery.
“In the spring 2021, we emphasize differentiation across countries. Moreover, COVID-19 is fast evolving, as are the consequences from COVID-19. The fiscal policy must stay agile and flexible to respond to this fast-evolving situation.” Said Gaspar.
He also warned that the targeting of measures must be improved and tailored to countries’ administrative capacity so that fiscal support can be maintained for the duration of the crisis—considering an uncertain and uneven recovery
“Moreover, countries are very different in their structures, in their institutions, in their financial capacity and much else. Therefore, policies and policy advice have to be tailored to fit.” Said Gaspar
Gaspar concluded his remarks by emphasizing that global vaccination is urgently needed, and that global inoculation would pay for itself with stronger employment and economic activity, leading to increased tax revenues and sizable savings in fiscal support.
“A fair shot, a vaccination for everybody in the world may well be the highest return global investment ever. But the Fiscal Monitor also emphasizes the importance of giving a fair shot at life success for everyone. It documents that preexisting inequalities made COVID-19 worse and that COVID-19 in turn made inequalities worse. There is here a vicious cycle that threatens trust and social cohesion. Therefore, we recommend stronger redistributive policies and universal access to basic public services like health, education, and social security,” said Gaspar.
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