President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed delight that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector, saying 5,000 Agro-Rangers have been deployed to protect farming investments.

The president, in an address to the nation to mark this year’s Democracy Day, in Abuja on Friday, said the government had also employed 30,289 personnel into para-military agencies.

He assured that the Federal Government would continue to support the agriculture sector through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.

He announced that the government had commenced integrating rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.

“Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by 79.4 million dollars and 153 million dollars,’’ he said.

According to the Nigerian leader, Africa presents a huge opportunity for Nigeria’s export base diversification and the federal government is developing strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

He acknowledged that Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st “and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.

“This development is due to the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system, seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50 per cent. 

We are confident that on-going efforts would result in further improvement of this rating.”

He said the government remains committed to expanding the mining sector.

The President said: “To this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing.

“With foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, we are harnessing the supply value chain in gold production.

“We would also be launching a fully digitized mineral rights management platform for quick processing of mineral rights application, digitization of records and plugging revenue leakages.’’

President Buhari stated that the power sector would continue to remain very critical to meeting the nation industrial development aspirations.

He assured that government would continue to tackle the challenges that still exist in the delivery of power through different strategies.

“We are executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme including the:

  1. Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano;
  2. 330kv DC 62km line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba;
  3. Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project;
  4. Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme;and
  5. Northern Corridor Transmission Project.

“Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023, to serve our electricity needs.’’

President Buhari maintained that his administration would continue implement policies and programmes toward stabilizing the macroeconomy, and to achieve agricultural and food security.

He assured that the government would ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, develop infrastructure, fight corruption and improve governance.

NAN

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