By Patrick Onuoha
Labour Party (LP) Presidential candidate and former Anambra state governor, Mr. Peter Obi has identified boost in export and commitment to agriculture as actions needed to grow the Nigerian economy and pull the citizens out of poverty.
Obi made the observations, during his fact finding and interactive visit to Executive Council of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He added that growing the economy and getting the people out of poverty, will go a long way in addressing the high level of insecurity in the country. Insecurity, according to him, can only be addressed by pulling people out of poverty.
He maintained that with vast arable lands in the country covering over 923,000 square kilometers, agriculture remains huge asset and the easiest way for Nigeria to feed its citizens and have surplus for export.
He stated that time has come for the country to move from consumption to production, arguing that this cannot be actualised without export.
Governor Obi, noted that with the volume of Nigeria’s export trade estimated at about paltry 30bn dollars in 2021(using rate of =N=650/$1) much needs to be done to address the situation for the country to be in strong competition with others. He stressed that exports need to be increased for Nigeria to boost its foreign reserves and halt the high exchange rate of the national currency, the naira.
He lamented the high cost of doing business in the country, pledging that if elected into office, his administration would create a conducive atmosphere for businesses to thrive. In this direction, he identified the private sector especially MSME, as Nigeria’s engine of growth, adding that for meaningful progress to be recorded, the economy must be driven by the private sector, and huge support to MSME. Shifting from the public sector and encouraging the private sector, he said, is the will also greatly help in curbing the scourge of corruption in the system.
Obi decried the incidence of crude oil theft in the country, describing it as an unfortunate, which needs all necessary actions to be controlled.
On the 2023 general election, Obi pleaded with Nigerians to look beyond the issues of religion, ethnicity or depth of the pocket but go for candidates who have the character, capacity competence and commitment, He said; I am not contesting, because I am Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Christian or Muslim but because I have the competence to turn around Nigeria for the better.