By Chigozie Chukwuleta.
Anambra State Governor, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to champion the shift from dependence on oil to agriculture-driven economy.
According to the Press Release by the Press Secretary Mr Christian Aburime, governor Soludo who was speaking when he played host to the CBN, Awka branch Manager, Mr. Benedict Maduagwu at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia described agro-export as the game changer for Nigeria’s economy.
The Governor said that his administration is already taking the lead by introducing regenerative agriculture, reinvention of the palm revolution and coconut economy, emphasizing that dependence on crude oil at this critical time may spell doom for the country as the NNPC had made remittance into the federation account since February this year.
“The economy of the old in our region was built on palm, but crude oil came and Nigeria forgot the other oil. It is time for the country to maximize agriculture. In Anambra, we want to plant one million palm and coconut seedlings”.
“I believe that over the years, the value chain will improve to earn foreign exchange and earn income for the state. Thank God agriculture is central to the Central bank and we wish that CBN will be worthy partners in our export agenda”.
The Governor noted that the Central Bank plays a pivotal role in the development of the country, stressing that when inflation is galloping, nothing else will work.
“CBN is a Macro economic institution and financial regulator and it plays developmental roles”, Governor Soludo added.
While recalling the achievements recorded during his tenure as the CBN Governor, Professor Soludo expressed appreciation that the thrust in agriculture introduced during his tenure was maintained.
“It’s now a matter of survival with agriculture as the new economy. There are huge redundancies in the sector and we must fully exploit it by determining ways to deliver more efficiently and more effectively’.
“We are strong in the area of Anambra rice, cassava. CBN should release grants on research and development. Consider our ukwa (bread fruit), uziza, uda and our local spices. Get scientists to produced the improved varieties. Even our palm wine should be exported the way they export Champagne across the globe”, he said
The Governor who commended the CBN Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, revealed that greater partnership between CBN and Anambra state government on areas that have potentials to change lives is desirous by his administration.
“Export oriented production is the game changer and I applaud CBN staff for their integrity and professionalism”.
He concluded by calling the attention of the CBN to other issues, including the supposed 2.5 billion naira agriculture fund, to Anambra state, among others.
Earlier, the CBN, Awka branch Manager who led the delegation, Mr. Benedict Maduagwu spoke about the efforts of the institution in key areas of the Country’s economy, especially in the agricultural sector.
He disclosed that they are making gradual progress on improvement in sensitisation, calling the mind of the governor to some CBN facilities that can be of immense benefit to the state including the Anchor Borrower Scheme, Accelerated Development Scheme, among others.
He asked the state government to key into them.
Principal Secretary to the Governor, Barrister JPC Anetoh, State Head of Service, Barrister Theodora Igwegbe, Deputy Chief of Staff/Chief Protocol to the Governor, Hon Chinedu Nwoye among others, were present during the visit.