A former President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to begin the planned economic transformation from the agricultural sector.
Dr Simon Okolo made the call in an interview with The Tide source in Aba, the Abia commercial nerve centre, on Saturday.
Okolo noted that developing the agricultural sector remained the surest way to kick-start the industrial take-off of the country, diversify its economy, create jobs for the people and alleviate poverty.
“Through agriculture, the country will get the raw material inputs to set up small-scale industries that will employ the youths.
“Increased production of agricultural goods will ensure adequate food for the people and also increase revenue from the export of the surplus,” he said.
He expressed the hope that Jonathan’s plans to step up production of some major agricultural produce, local production of fertiliser and other farming inputs, would eventually lead to a ban in the importation of many products by 2015.
Okolo described the president’s economic plans as “a giant breakthrough for the nation, if actualised”.
He said that the establishment of a fertiliser plant would not only revolutionise agricultural production in the country but also reduce importation and save Nigeria’s foreign currency.
According to him, the country spends billions of dollars on fertiliser import annually, which in most cases, get to farmers late due to delays at the ports and government bureaucracy.
He stressed that failure to reposition the country’s economy might take the nation many years backward.
Okolo reminded the president that he would write his name in gold, if he succeeded in reactivating the economy to stimulate economic activities in the country.
This, he said, would help the people to fend for themselves rather than waiting for government to provide everything for them at all times.
“What Nigeria needs is transformational leaders,” the former NACCIMA president said, adding that Jonathan’s antecedents showed that he would deliver.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to support the president to enable him to deliver on his plans for the nation.