Rice import bill dropped from $1bn to $18.5m annually —Buhari

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration dropped import bill of rice from $1 billion to $18.5 million annually.

President Buhari also said following the introduction of Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), there was sharp decline in the nation’s major food import bill from $2.23 billion in 2014 to US$0.59 billion by the end of 2018.

President Buhari said in his address of the occasion of commemoration and celebration of Democracy Day celebration.

“Interventions led by Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria driving economic growth over the past 6 years are targeted mostly to the agricultural, services, infrastructure, power and health care sectors of the economy.

“​In the Agricultural sector, for instance, the Anchor Borrowers Programme resulted in sharp decline in the nation’s major food import bill from $2.23 billion in 2014 to US$0.59 billion by the end of 2018.

“Rice import bill alone dropped from $1 billion to $18.5 million annually”, President Buhari said.

He said ABP initiative supported local production of rice, maize, cotton and cassava, as government financed 2.5 million small-holder farmers cultivating about 3.2 million hectares of farmland all over the country and created 10 million direct and indirect jobs.

“​Several other initiatives, namely AgriBusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme, the Non-oil Export stimulation Facility, the Targeted Credit Facilities operated across the 774 Local Governments.

“​In the manufacturing sector the CBN – BOI N200 billion facility financed the establishment and operations of 60 new industrial hubs across the country, creating an estimated 890,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“The CBN’s N50 billion Textile Sector intervention Facility increased capacity utilisation of ginneries from 30% to nearly 90%”, Buhari added.

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