From: LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
As part of measures towards ensuring economic revival in the country, a traditional ruler, the Elerin of Adanla Kingdom, in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, Oba David Oyerinola, has enjoined the Federal Government to plug all leakages associated with the agriculture value chain and monitor the implementation of funds disbursement in that sector in order to realise its full potentials.
Oba Oyerinola, who is also a lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Ilorin, stated this in an interview with newsmen.
The monarch noted that recession was a global phenomenon, pointing out that a mono product-based economy like Nigeria would always be susceptible to economic recession due to the fluctuation in global oil market prices.
Dr. Oyerinola pointed out that in order to get out of its current recession, Nigeria must embrace diversification through the development of its agricultural potentials as well as its mineral resources.
He said, “We are endowed with arable land that can grow 90 percent of the food stuff that we are importing in this country; if the government is well committed and those in government monitor the disbursement of funds to agriculture, there is no reason, with the Basins that we have- the FADAMA etc, there is no reason this country should be importing rice.”
According to the monarch, “what the government needs to do is to be more committed. Commitment is what is needed, not lip service. It is not that they are not budgeting for agriculture, but this money allocated is going to wrong hands”.
The don noted that, “the ongoing anti-corruption campaign is good but it needs to be monitored to the grassroots because we are talking about implementation. It is not the issue of budgeting but implementation; the people that are taking agric loan, are they really investing it? If they are, what happens to the harvest? Is it being retained in the country or some people are smuggling it out? All of these we need to monitor them and you have to look at Nigerian borders- very porous. The way they are smuggling rice that are grown with taxpayers money out of this country to neighbouring West African countries; you know the resultant effect of that- the government has released money, the investment has been carried out but there is nothing to show for it.”
Dr. Oyerinola stated further, “There are so many areas when we talk about investing in agriculture. What happens to storage, all the leakages? There are leakages in storage system, leakages in distribution of agricultural inputs, leakages in different areas. If all these leakages are plugged, I am very sure that the bumper harvest will be well managed and as an economist, the moment the supply is more that demand, the price will surely be affected. So, we are just declaring bumper harvest on the media but practically, we are not seeing it in the market because of the leakages. These leakages, if they are blocked, then we will have all these products in our market.”