By Onome Amuge
Nigeria will not be able to get sufficient foreign exchange and the value of the naira will continue to plunge, unless there is an improvement in food production and significant reduction in food importation level.
Godwin Obaseki stated this when he received Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife,who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City, Edo State.
According to Obaseki, Nigeria’s economy is not doing well and governments at all levels, traditional rulers and stakeholders in the food production value chain have a huge role to play in increasing food production and cutting down the current level of imports.
“In the first half of this year, we have spent N1 trillion naira importing food and it’s not sustainable,” he bemoaned.
The governor explained that if the food production and importation challenges are not urgently addressed, it means the country will not be able to get sufficient foreign exchange to bring in what it consumes, the exchange rate will continue to rise, the price of commodities will continue to go up and more people will plunge into poverty.
Speaking on ways to effectively address the economic logjam, the governor called for increased collaboration between government at all levels and the traditional institution to tackle the problem of insecurity and other challenges confronting the country. He also encouraged the youths to embrace agriculture,noting that it is a viable business in the country with diverse employment and sustainability opportunities.
“If we must tackle the security challenges facing this country, the government must work very closely with the traditional authorities who are well-grounded in the grassroots and know the people well to bring to an end the security challenges facing this country. We are already doing that in Edo State and the results are there to show,” he said.
While commending the Ooni for his passion and commitment to the unity and development of the country, Obaseki assured that the Edo State government is fully committed to sustaining partnership with the traditional institution, adding that they have a deep sense of understanding of the challenges and problems in the local communities.
On his part, Oba Ogunwusi Obaseki that traditional rulers will continue to work with constituted authorities to move the nation forward, and advised him not to be distracted but to remain focused and double his efforts in making life better for Edo people, particularly the youths.