Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has expressed the federal governmentâ€™s resolve to change the narrative on local production of food, assuring that appropriate strategies were being evolved to make the prices of locally-produced rice and other staples cheaper.
Osinbajo, who challenged Nigerians â€œto grow what we eat and use what we produce,â€ said the prices of imported rice were cheaper than the locally-produced ones because governments of the countries of import had become smarter as Nigeria commenced a radical move to boost local production of the commodity.
Speaking at an interactive session with senior civil and public servants on the Executive Order ((EO1) on transparency and improving the business environment in the country, he said in order to sustain their rice export, the governments of such countries now highly subsidise rice production, culminating in lower cost to farmers.
According to him, this had made foreign rice cheaper than the locally-produced ones, assuring that in the months ahead, rice produced locally would compete favourably with imported ones as appropriate strategies were being explored to drive down their prices.
He observed that if the states that currently produce rice across the country produce at full capacity, Nigeria can conveniently feed the entire African continent.
Speaking on the need for public servants and Nigerians in general to embrace ethical transformation in the way they carry out government and private business,
Osinbajo said he had been in public service for most of his adult years, and was familiar with some of the frustrations exhibited by people in the sector.
He, therefore admonished public servants to strive to ensure that the nationâ€™s future is not destroyed, just as he advised them to key into the administrationâ€™s resolve to clear the roadblocks militating against ease of doing business.
â€œAny time an officer is an obstacle to anyone, he becomes an obstacle to the prosperity of the nation,â€ he said, noting that no business, big or small, thrives if the business environment is harsh through deliberate obstacles.
He also advised public servants against delays in carrying out their functions, even as he enjoined them to see the new drive towards removing obstacles to doing business as their own and not governmentâ€™s.
Osinbajo noted that although he is a clergy, he had come to know that prosperity is not tied to the frequency of prayer or fasting but hard work, and called for that virtue among Nigerians to lift the country.
In his presentation on the â€œPromotion of transparency and efficiency in business environment,â€ the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah said the reform of Nigeriaâ€™s business environment has been prioritised by the current administration..
He stated that Nigeria aspires to be one of the most attractive investment destinations, adding that as the country aspires to become Africaâ€™s leading economy, â€œwe have to become more business friendly.â€
Enalamah stated that since the reform of Nigeriaâ€™s business environment had been prioritised by the current administration, the approved Enabling Environment Initiative has started the work of making this aspiration a reality.
The minister noted that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) recently concluded the NAP-60 plan, committing to a clear set of desired outcomes for each reform area.
The acting president had on May 18, 2017 signed the executive order on transparency and improving the business environment in Nigeria.The Executive Order (EO1) contains far-reaching measures with direct benefits for Nigerian businesses as a proof of the federal governmentâ€™s commitment and determination to ease the business environment.