Nigeria may soon become a net exporter of rice, Acting Director of Corporate Communications at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okoroafor, has said.
The Eagle Online reports that Okoroafor said this in his presentation at the Time Economics Breakfast Meeting, a monthly presentation by the Time Economics Consulting Firm, on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said such a feat could become possible because of the increased harvest from the programme the CBN embarked upon with rice farmers in Kebbi State.
The meeting was held to discuss the recent shock vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and what it portends for the Nigerian economy.
The forum also deliberated on the economic implications of the floating of the Naira embarked by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Okoroafor said: “Our expectation was that each farmer will get four to five tonnes but they are making seven to eight tonnes per hectare.
“This is just rice and there are millions of farmers waiting for this.
“This is just a pilot project.
“If we do this consistently till 2018, we will start exporting rice.
“If we can do this for about 10 commodities in two years, we will go out of this, but if we don’t, no amount of policies or management can help us.”
In his contribution, Dr. Ogho Okiti, the Chief Executive Officer of Time Economics, said the Federal Government should deepen reforms in various sectors of the economy that could attract investments and create jobs.
According to Okiti, Brexit has resulted in uncertainty in the global market and this, he said, would linger for a while.
He said the growth in the global economy had not been very good in the last two years as it had been subdued and volatile as a result of certain conditions in the market.
“Most people believe that the problem is not liquidity, but the investment uncertainty environment.”
On its implications for Africa, Okiti said there would be continued pressure on trade, currency and aid from outside sources, adding that the way forward was diversification.
According to Okiti, in the second quarter, Nigeria’s economy experienced a new face of low growth, weak export prices.
He said: “World bank put our growth rate at 0.8 per cent, IMF expects our economy to contract, Fitch downgraded our expenditure from BB- to B+.
“Oil price is low, poor power supply, weak government expenditure, foreign exchange constraint, constraint in inputs among others and what we see is recession.
“An inflation rate of 15.6 is the highest since 2010, both food and core sub-index recorded significant month to month growth with the drivers being forex scarcity, increased electricity tariff, high fuel prices.”
On the inflation outlook, Okiti said if the government was able to contain the shocks without further occurrence, “we would remain at the present level even if inflation remains the same”.
He said the CBN’s decision to float forex market was a courageous policy which could enhance liquidity, improve business confidence and deepen our market.
He said the Futures Market would serve as hedge against volatility of the naira and businesses and other end users would not purchase forex they have no immediate need for.
Okiti said oil exports, remittances to friends and families and portfolio flows would be ways of improving liquidity in the country.
He said the convergence of the interbank parallel market would result in increased government revenue which would in turn increase states revenue.
Also speaking, Ambakederemo Eniye, the Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, called for the establishment and implementation of a data base for the country.
Eniye said: “We need to align institutions within the country.
“Let institutions know their roles and be allowed to play it and establish steps needed to achieve our goals.
“We have the capacity and there is an opportunity for Nigeria, but we need to take charge.”