2021 Budget: Senate tasks FG on job creation for youths

By Ignatius Okorocha

The Senate on Monday urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to channel implementation of 2021 budget of the ministry to practical creation of jobs opportunities for unemployed youths in the country.

President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan spoke in Abuja against the backdrop of the recent #EndSARS protests in the country, at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Agriculture on 2021 budget defense.

“Recently we had some of our youths protesting. Some of them very genuinely. They were seeking the attention of leaders and they got the attention of leaders.

“So our budget, especially for 2021, should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths.

“They demonstrated. They protested because they could do so. There are so many other people who may not be youthful but are also in the same need and they didn’t protest.

“Let’s meet them where they are. We don’t have to wait until they also try to grumble or protest. We should be proactive. We should reach them and they are in the rural areas. Most of them.

“So we should meet them there. Give them what we can and what they need to some extent, within the purview of our resources and give them there, to make them live a productive life and that is the only way we can make a difference in the lives of the people,” Lawan said.

Lawan said the agricultural sector was capable of turning around fortunes of the nation, given its huge potential for wealth creation.

He said there was need for the sector to be given adequate support to ensure practical creation of jobs opportunities for every body.

“Approach the 2021 budget in a very practical manner, we should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for the youths.

He urged the ministry to ensure specific allocations of fund to ensure more productivity of the sector going forward.

“We should also consider how to spend the resources, by ensuring that we use it efficiently and prudently.

“We have stopped the importation of rice but we can do much more beyond rice because

We have potential across the country to grow anything.

” It is high time we begin to think of one local government to grow one crop, because we have the land and the people.

“We advise that what ever program we have across this sector, we need to bring every one on board to avoid duplication of resources and working across purposes.”

Continuing Lawan said,”I believe that this sector is the mother of all sectors in our economy. We have the potentials across the country to grow anything.

“Is it not time that we start to think of maybe one crop per Local Government Area or something like that because this idea was mooted before.

“Do we need to be talking of Agriculture only at the Federal level. Where are the states. Where are the local governments because we don’t have land. The states and the Local Governments have the land and the people. So we need to come up with better strategies of engaging everybody, every stakeholders.”

In his remark, Chairman of the Committee, on Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen.Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa) disclosed that the agricultural sector was allocated N179 billion in the 2021 national budget.

According to him, the sector allocations over the years have been too poor saying that it had been far cry from the 10 per cent countries allocate to the sector .

He said the committee would scrutinise the budget, while urging the ministry and its agencies to deliver on the mandate of growing the sector further.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono said

Inspite of all challenges faced by the sector in the last one year,the sector had done faily well.

According to him, the challenges were occassioned by the COVID-19 pandemic,drought ,flood in some parts of the country among other problems.

“Recent reports by the Food and Agricultural Organisations(FAO) shows that Nigerian’s agriculture was not in vulnerable situation.

“In the medium term review of all the sectors, with the exception of agriculture showed a decline on growth except agriculture , which shows growth.

According to him, the policy directions of the ministry towards economic diversification is to reopen agriculture sub-system, ensure private sector driven organisations and creation of commodity value chain clusters among other initiatives to develop the sector for good of the country.

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