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The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in charge of Economic Policy, Dr. Okwu Nnanna has advocated strong leaning towards agriculture in the federal government’s diversification policy. “Broadly, diversified economies have the ability to contain the unintended negative consequences of global disruptions quicker, relative to narrowly diversified countries such as Nigeria,” according to him. Nnanna stated this in a pre-convocation lecture he presented for the 26th Convocation Ceremonies of the Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU), saying the need for emphasis on the sector cannot be overemphasized. He said, “ A diversified economy will assist in solving the problems of high unemployment, uneven development, rising inflation, wide income inequality, high poverty level and the high level of insecurity.” While speaking on the theme “Diversification of the Nigerian Economy through the Agriculture Sector,” the apex bank boss said, “a nation that cannot feed its population is a nation whose future has been mortgaged.” The economist, who explained that the bank has introduced various programmes with financial backing to attract youth to the sector, appealed to the students to key into them on graduation to create jobs for themselves and others. However, the bank chief explained that the quest to attain the objective is not without some challenges caused by prolonged neglect of the sector by previous administrations in the country due to influx of petro-dollar. He noted the challenges to include inadequate/lack of requisite infrastructure, unfriendly operating business environment, poor/lack of storage and processing facilities, low public-private-partnerships and underdeveloped value chain. He said current efforts by the government to address the challenges include the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)-2017-2020, the Agricultural Promotion Policy (The Green Alternative), infrastructure development, trade facilitation, and monetary prospective. Nnenna argued that countries that have successfully diversified their economies did so with active participation of all major stakeholders, including the government, private sector, organised labour, and research and academic institutions. Speaking earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Uche Ikonne, reiterated commitment to providing conducive atmosphere to teaching, learning, research and development in line with global best practice.

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Source: Leadership

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