Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, has urged Nigerians to stop grumbling about policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, instead, they should count their blessings.
“We should learn to count our blessings, rather than grumble all the time,” Adesina said in his recent article about happenings in the Nigeria presidency.
Although the four-month COVID-19 enforced lockdown shutdown had a negative impact on the global economy, Adesina said Buhari’s foresight saved the Nigeria economy from total collapse.
The presidential spokesman stated that Buhari’s decision to provide funds to local farmers and manufacturers through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in Birnin-Kebbi, in November 2015 against food importation gave the country some level of stability while the world suffered the effect of the pandemic on oil prices.
Adesina reiterated that Nigeria’s economy falling into recession in 2016 was inevitable due to the crash of oil prices to as low as 37 dollars from 100 dollars.
“Through prudence, financial accountability, and hard work, we came out of recession in early 2017. And for the next 12 quarters, GDP grew every quarter. Not at the pace we wanted, but the trajectory was positive, till the end of Quarter 1, 2020. Then things went bust. COVID-19 came, and the economy was locked down for over four months,” Adesina said.
“It was only natural that the economy would contract again by time the half-year report came. The projection was that we would have a 7 percent negative growth, but we eventually had -6.1, a shade better than had been projected.
“In terms of GDP growth or losses by half-year of 2020, America contracted by -9.4 percent, South Africa -17.6, Great Britain -20, India -23, and the only major economic power that did not contract was China, 3.1 positive growth. And COVID-19 had incidentally started from Wuhan, in China.
“If we hadn’t put our money where our mouth was from 2015, imagine what would have happened to Nigeria. The country was locked down, just like other countries of the world. No money to import food, as oil prices had crashed to below 20 dollars per barrel, and even if you had money to import, all international borders were closed. We would have smelled pepper.”
Adesina said Nigeria could not suffer the effect of international borders being shut because “Buhari had been prescient and had seen ahead.”
“We survived through locally grown food products: rice, beans, yam, tomatoes, and many others. While the half year GDP shows a slump in several sectors, agriculture still grew by 1.58%,” Adesina said.
The CBN this week said since the inception of the Anchor Borrowers Programme in 2015, the sum of N479.239 billion has been disbursed to 2,580,094 smallholder farmers cultivating about 3,044,482 hectares of farmland across the 36 states of the country, and the Federal Capital Territory.
Between 2015 and now, Adesina said funds have been disbursed for the cultivation and rearing of 21 agricultural commodities.
He said the CBN will stimulate affordable and sustainable finance to the agriculture sector, support the government’s commitment to creating 100 million jobs, enable a greater diversification of Nigeria’s economy, and achieve self-sufficiency in foods and industrial raw materials.
Source: The Guardian