#Editorial

The Palliatives Nigerians Need

THE  effects of oil subsidy removal is still leaving a sour mouth on Nigerians. The policy has also thrown millions of Nigerians into untold hardship while many businesses are negatively impacted.

GOVERNMENT is not unconscious of the debilitating effects of the policy as the national economic council recently announced measures to cushion the effects. The council at the end of its deliberations resolved to negotiate a new minimum wage for workers , implement Cash Award Policy for public servants for six months, outstanding liabilities of states to public servants to be paid, government should fund medium and small scale entrepreneurs with single digit interest rate among others.

WE are however not convinced that the measures are the palliatives Nigerians want. Securing the country and making it safe from kidnappers and criminal elements in the society will definitely go a long way at bringing stability and confidence to the hard working Nigerians who are always ready to fend for themselves and families .

THERE is no denying the fact that Nigerians are industrious but the issue of kidnapping most especially in their farms have discouraged many from going to their farms.

ACROSS   the six geo-political zones, findings revealed that farmers are abandoning their farmsteads, plantations, orchards, and processing factories amid the spate of armed invasion, kidnapping, and attacks. For example, at least 352 farmers have been killed and kidnapped in 12 months amid the rising insecurity in the country. We thus encourage the government to secure our farms and ensure that our people who are willing to farm do so without fear of being kidnapped or killed by these unscrupulous elements in the country.

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CLOSELY linked to this is government’s unfortunate approach to agriculture. This sector can provide credible opportunity to youth unemployment and reduce poverty level in Nigeria. We, however, insist that  with  the  hoe and cutlass means of farming which had dominated the Nigerian agricultural space, it might be difficult, if not impossible to address the current unemployment and poverty levels. We need to be serious this time around. The Federal Government should provide at least two tractors per local government for farmers to use including cheap  farm inputs  and implements.

NIGERIA,   a country of over 210 million with more than 70 million hectares of land, 180 million livestock, has what is required to break the shackles of poverty and unemployment for its citizens. Government needs to invest heavily  in agriculture by providing high yield crops and other inputs that would make farming easy and profitable.

WE encourage government to give agriculture, particularly crop and livestock production, fisheries, and forestry topmost priority by making it sustainable, creating impactful policies and programmes that are capable of improving the current status of the Nigerian economy as well as creating massive job opportunities for the people.

GOVERNMENT  may even use part of the N500 billion loan to fund agriculture.  Its earlier decision to distribute N8,000 to poor Nigerians, seems to be an error in judgment as it  would only  make a few people rich.

Giving N8,000 to a few Nigerians does not alleviate their poverty, as it is not sustainable, grossly inadequate, does not create wealth and definitely another Trader Moni exercise, which is just a journey to nowhere.

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WE also charge the government to make loans with little interest rates available to farmers. Such should also be easily accessible . The current windows available are too cumbersome and its interest rate is very high. Government  should not only mop up any crop that is over produced it should also establish cottage industries that would provide value chain.

NIGERIA  is big country with vast arable land. Hunger shouldn’t be in our lexicon if successive governments had not paid lip services to the issue of agriculture in the first place. Therefore, the time is now that government put the sector in proper shape. These are  what we in The Hope believe are  the palliatives Nigerians want.

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The Palliatives Nigerians Need

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The Palliatives Nigerians Need

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