…decries undermining of govt policies by ‘unscrupulous’ persons
President Muhammadu Buhari has advocated the adoption of a bottom-up strategy in tackling the challenges of insecurity in the country. The President while responding to the observation that insecurity has begun to have negative repercussions on the economy made by Professor Doyin Salami – led Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at their sixth regular meeting in the Presidential Villa, yesterday, said he had charged the leadership at all levels to go back to the basics.
According to a release by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President noted that a bottom-up approach was necessary from ward to local council, states, and federal. He decried the situation in which some unscrupulous people tried to undermine every policy of government irrespective of the good it was meant to achieve for the country. Buhari said: “Some people are mercilessly against this country. We closed the borders to control the smuggling of petroleum products and check the influx of smuggled goods, arms and ammunition. That was when the Comptroller General of Customs called me, saying 40 tankers laden with petrol had been impounded.
I told him to sell the fuel, sell the trucks, and put the money in the treasury. “They still brought arms and ammunition into the country, brought in rice in vehicles and motorcycles. I said shoot anyone found illegally with AK-47, yet they haven’t stopped. People must show consideration for their own country.” On the need to diversify the nation’s economy, the President pledged that his administration would focus on greater development of irrigation facilities in the country, and encourage more people to go into agriculture. “We need to go back to the land.
Technology is doing away with petroleum, but we are lucky we have other resources; Gas, vast arable land, which we are not using enough,” he said. Salami had told the President that only 2% of land under cultivation was irrigated, recommending that apart from government efforts, incentives were needed for private people to enter the sector. PEAC submitted that the global economy has continued to improve as COVID-19 infections drop and roll-out of vaccination intensifies, adding that the Nigerian economy, though out of recession, remains fragile with inflation rising, unemployment high, and external account weak. Policy, the economic advisory body said, “must urgently address the challenges of rising prices.” Among other issues recommended by PEAC were: decisive end to all forms of insecurity in the country, mobilisation of resources for investment, hastened implementation of agricultural reform policies, and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as a basis for revitalising the industry, poverty reduction, employment generation, and incentives for private investment in irrigation, to promote all-year-round farming.