The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to suggestions by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar to the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration on the need to diversify Nigeria’s economy.
According to a statement signed on Saturday by the National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party welcomed his opinion and expressed sincere thanks for the suggestions
They, however, said they were surprised that the former Vice President failed to acknowledge the efforts that the administration has made in the last five years towards diversification of the economy and the “many positive gains” it has yielded.
According to the statement, as far back as 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari had launched the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), an intervention policy primarily aimed at giving farmers access to finance.
Also, the APC noted that part of the efforts of the President Buhari-led administration to boost agriculture is the massive successes recorded in the local production of fertilisers.
The party insisted that the contributions of agriculture to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have consistently been on the increase and is being captured by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in the last four years.
Abubakar had, in an article published on April 30, warned against Nigeria’s reliance on oil, saying that the country will never be industrialised by depending on crude oil.
In the post captioned “How to Pull Nigeria from the Brink,” he called on the Nigerian government to look into the agricultural sector as a way of shoring up revenue in the face of dwindling oil fortunes.
But the APC said his claims were perhaps an oversight or a blatant attempt not to admit the “truth” of the administration’s successes.
The party also faulted Atiku’s comments on the issue of the border closure which he described as an “insane” policy.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar may wish to know that the policy he has unfortunately chosen to label as “insane” has led to a significant spike in rice production across the country, opening up of hundreds of rice mills, indigenous manufacturing firms are sourcing their raw materials locally, boom in poultry farming, with Nigerians now patronising locally made food items like never before and, in the process, boosting the income of farmers and local producers,” the statement read in part.
It added: “It is heart-warming to know we are coping well as the Coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdowns are testing our country’s capacity to feed itself. We have been able to meet the pandemic induced surge in demand for foods only because the APC administration has been implementing policies targeted at expanding the capacity of our farmers and the other players in the allied industries.
“We ask Atiku Abubakar; where would we have gotten the farm produce for palliatives and feed our people during the lockdown if we had not taken the courageous route of looking inwards while curtailing sabotage from neighbouring economies?
“In the areas of plugging revenue leakages, curbing waste, diversifying and growing the economy, budgeting, borrowings, ease of doing business, support of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), the President Muhammadu Buhari government is matching electoral promises with actions”.