President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will speed up efforts to ensure rapid economic growth in the country, after hearing that of the vast agricultural land resources available to the nation, only two percent of it is under irrigation.
He made this known, while speaking at a meeting with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) in Abuja, he said his administration’s policy of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is a deliberate effort that will be pursued with determination.
In a statement after the meeting by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, Buhari said the country requires a poverty reduction strategy that will usher in “rapid, sustained, sustainable and inclusive economic growth”.
He said, “I was shocked, hearing from you that of the vast agricultural land resources available to the nation, only two percent of it is under irrigation,”
“We will make the best use of the land. Thank you for shaking us up. We are now awake; we will not doze off again. We didn’t just bump into this; we believe it is something we can deliver on.”
The Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), Doyin Salami, who was present at the meeting, in his statement, welcomed the country’s exit from recession, but cautioned that the strength of the economic growth must be driven in a way that it will overtake population growth.
He said,“Poverty is not only the lack of cash; it is defined by lack of access to shelter, health, education and jobs which must all be addressed.”
He reiterated that “We are consolidating on the achievements of the past and avoiding past mistakes; it is the first time that everyone is coming on board – federal government, states, the private sector, development partners and the civil society. Poverty reduction must not be left to the federal government alone; it is everybody’s responsibility.”
Also present at the council’s meeting was the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.