Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, over the weekend listed ways for Nigeria to get out of the current economic recession.
Speaking during the one year anniversary and first annual lecture of The Point Newspapers held at the Eko Hotel, Lagos entitled: “The Economics of Change,” the governor said Nigeria must cut its dependence on foreign goods, increase local production and enhance entrepreneurship, saying these would help save the local currency which currently carries too much pressure.
Aregbesola expressed regrets that despite the huge opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, Nigeria had failed to make use of the opportunities.
He said: “We should also cut the importation of food to less than 25 per cent of the current volume. This is to enable us develop agriculture. It has been the policy of our administration since day one to promote food production in order to be able to feed our people. It is really shameful that in spite of our endowments in natural resources, we are still dependent on imported food items as a nation.”
Aregbesola added, “the most successful and leading enterprises in the country are owned largely by foreigners, with our people being minority shareholders. A system where it is easier to prosper and succeed in business through buying and selling is inherently anti-development. Entrepreneurship training should be part of education at all levels.”
While underscoring the importance of agriculture, the governor said farming should now be knowledge-based, stressing that “there must also be a transition from producer of primary goods to value adding. Adding values create a value chain that increases the momentum of development.”
Aregbesola explained that “the value of one kilogramme of cocoa beans Nigeria exports is multiplied 5,000 times by the time it imports it as chocolate. If we can make the same quality of chocolate, we could have earned 5,000 times the value we derive from cocoa beans in a value chain that includes revenue generation, wealth creation, job creation and spiralling effect of developing ancillary industries around this product”.
Also at the event were the Emir of Kano, Dr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo.