FROM ISAAC ANUMIHE, ABUJA
Federal Government yesterday said that it is incapable of meeting the huge financial demands of Nigeria‘s power sector, while attributing the poor state of agriculture to poor electricity supply.
Declaring open the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit packaged by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and National Planning Commission as well as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, stated that there was no way issues on the development of the agriculture sector would be discussed without talking about availability of regular electricity.
He said that the provision of electricity in the country had been poor over the years because it was left for government to shoulder alone, noting that there was no way it could handle the provision of electricity.
The president therefore called on the private sector to invest in the power sector for better results.
Jonathan stated that government needed to fast track the on-going power sector privatization process in order to reduce problems associated with irregular power supply.
According to him, the government had almost concluded the privatization of electricity distribution and generation companies, assuring that the Federal Government, along with private investors, would take care of the transmission aspect of power generation.
On agriculture, Jonathan urged Nigerians to see agriculture as a profession which should be taken seriously like other vocations, such as law, medicine, accountancy among others.
He said that he was elated that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, in its Agriculture Transformation activities are changing the perception of the Nigerian youths to agricultural activities as many of them are now into full-time agriculture business.
He assured Nigerian farmers of access to credit, disclosing that the ongoing nationwide registration of farmers which included biometric registration and collection of other data would give the Federal Government the leverage to guarantee low interest rate to the farmers, knowing full well that they are not ghost farmers.
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adeshina said that the Agriculture Transformation Activities of his ministry had changed the perception of people to agriculture practices because bankers are now leaving the banking sector towards agriculture.
The theme of this year’s event is: Growing Agriculture as a Business to Diversify Nigerian Economy.