Federal Government has revealed that neighbouring countries are asking Nigeria for food owing to the coronavirus pandemic .
Minister of Works and Housing , Babatunde Fashola, revealed this on a live chat(Instagram) on Saturday.
The Minister spoke on the COVID-19 Economic Sustainability Plan, recently submitted by the Vice -President to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the plan contains several measures to fortify Nigeria against subsequent economic contingencies.
Fashola said, “We are looking at constructing roads with more stones, more cement, more iron rods so that more people will be employed".
"For example, it will take 14 people to build a kilometre of road. So, if you are doing more kilometres, it will demand more labour and materials, so, these are some of the bolts and nuts of that plan".
“Agriculture is another critical part of the Economic Sustainability Plan. We want to increase the cultivatable lands in the country. We are currently cultivating just about one-third and I stand to be corrected on that figure, the minister of agriculture knows the numbers than I do. But in his presentation, as I recollect it, we are not cultivating enough lands . We want to double cultivation, increase food output, not just for local use but for export".
“I must say to Nigerians that because of the success of the agriculture programme which is still revolving, during this COVID exercise, many countries were writing to us from near and far , asking us to please supply them food . This is not in the public space but President Buhari"s priority wa, tell them to wait, we must feed our people first before we send food out, we don’ t know when this is going to end".
“So, we want to see more value added in the sector in terms of processing and cultivation. We are losing an unsatisfactory quantity of our agro produce to many factors in transport, cooling, heating and so on.
These are some of the components that the Ministry of Agriculture will share with you in the next few months about how to ensure that we preserve many more of what we produce and lose less”.
Fashola also pointed to the ongoing National Housing Project which started in 2016.
He said, “We learnt from the previous National Housing Scheme during the Shagari era that not everybody liked the way the Shagari houses were built . Whilst it was a laudable initiative by that administration, it did not really respond fully to all the aspirations of Nigerians in terms of the type of houses they want to live in
“In all the 34 states who gave us the lands , we have completed the houses. We have now started a second phase in many of those houses close to where the first phase was”.
Beyond building constructions, he said the Ministry was equally providing site and service schemes.
These provisions were for people who preferred government protection and other social amenities like: potable water, steady power, etc.
Lock Down: Numerous Countries Ask Nigeria For Food Supply