LCCI: Govt’s plans of Mass Agricultural Programme, good, but… 

Business News
“We applaud the intended drive of mass agricultural programme targeting cultivation of 20,000 to 200,000 hectares, creating 5 million jobs, under the Economic 
 Sustainability Plan (ESP).”
Toki Mabogunje,  President of the Lagos Chamber of commerce and Industry,  LCCI, said today, at a press briefing on the state of the economy, organised by the Chamber.
“We commend the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) of the Federal government aimed at ensuring that the economy recovers quickly from the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and continues on a growth path sustainably.
“To accomplish these, government has opted for the stimulus package of N2.3tn and intends to  obtain the resources for the stimulus from Special Accounts – N500bn; CBN structured lending – N1.11bn; as well as portions of the resources to be obtained from external bilateral/multilateral sources – N334bn and other funding sources – N302.9bn.
Omission of OPS from ESP Committee 
“However, we are concerned in the following areas:
– The composition of the committee saddled with the ESP largely excluded the organized private sector and they were not actively represented in drawing this plan.
“While we see this as a significant omission on the part of the government, we would however advise that the OPS be actively involved in ensuring the implementation as well as in monitoring the progress of the recommended activities going forward.
We advise that measures that concerns marketing, postharvest losses as well as government buy-back of produce from this mass production be properly structured and put in place to prevent glut of agricultural products which could lead to depressed prices and disincentive to farmers. It is important that strong emphasis be laid in ensuring market outlets before engaging in production activities.
Lastly, we enjoin the government to pursue the implementation of the ESP with utmost commitment and strong political will devoid of sentiments or political affiliations, so that proposed initiatives in the plan can produce the desired outcomes.
As a concerned stakeholder in the Nigerian economy, we call on the Federal and State Government to engage with the organized private sector where and when necessary, to ensure the economic sustainability plan achieve the desired outcomes that would ultimately translate to improved living standards for the Nigerian citizenry.

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