President Muhammadu Buhari says the diversification plans of government and the successes recorded in the agricultural sector has changed the lives of millions of Nigerians.
Addressing the Chairman and members the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative at the State House on Friday, President Buhari said he is already excited about the gains already recorded by the programme, which seeks to make fertilizer available to farmers.
“I am extremely impressed by how the programme has evolved since my meeting with his majesty the King of Morocco 15 months ago. I have been monitoring your progress closely but hearing of it first hand and seeing your faces today is truly a wonderful experience. I also appreciate the effort of the Fertilizer Producers and Supplies Association of Nigeria for their remarkable work to date, under the leadership of your President, Mr Thomas Etu. You were able to produce quality products and made it available and affordable across the country within three months thus making millions of Nigerians smile. I thank you,” he said.
President Buhari thanked the Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru, who heads the programme, for dedicating his time to the programme, as well as other stakeholder for working so hard.
“We have heard stories of sacrifices where all the stakeholders agreed that collective progress superseded personal interests. Firstly let me thank the Governor of Jigawa State who virtually relocated to Abuja to oversee the successful takeoff of this project. I must also express my profound gratitude to the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association, who although were competitors in the past, they all put aside their differences and came together to deliver on this important programme. I thank you for putting Nigeria first. I am also impressed by the commitment of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority to this project for moving away from its comfort zone and putting its capital into the rural economy where there are endless opportunities,” he said.
The Nigerian leader used the opportunity to admonish leader at all levels to key into the diversification programme of government, without which he said the future can be bleak.
“Unless we create an inclusive and diversified economy, the progress of our country and its future generations will always be held hostage by external factors such a global oil prices,”President Buhari advised.
President Buhari pledged that security will be provided to sustain the positive impact the programme is already making as he directed the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno to take charge in that regard.
“Unlike in the past, where trucks conveying fertilizer surprisingly disappeared in transit, in 2017, none of the 3,333 trucks that participated in this programme went missing. I want to assure participants of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative that we will continue to provide adequate security so that this programme and its positive impact on Nigeria is sustained. The National Security Adviser and security agencies should be ready to allow and protect the movement of all agricultural goods,” he stated.
He also directed other stakeholders as follows: “We must all do our bit too ensure fertilizer is readily available; therefore, the Ministry of Finance and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Should immediately engage the Governors Forum to conclude their orders, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should conclude the planning for all government programmes for 2018 farming season to ensure synergy, the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN should ensure affordable capital is available to the farmers and agro dealers, the Nigerian Ports Authority should provide all the necessary support required, to expedite the uploading and evacuation of the imported materials and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria must ensure quality and affordable fertilizer is available to farmers at the right time.”
In his remarks, Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, who is Chairman of the programme, said all stakeholders exhibited a sense of patriotism to Nigeria, as they all made various levels of sacrifice, leading to a successful implementation of the programme.
He thanked the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari for his immense support, which facilitated the smooth take off of the programme.
Badaru said most of the raw materials used for the production of fertilizer were locally sourced as directed by the President, adding that eleven blending plants were activated for the production of the essential commodity to farmers.