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FG to create 3.5 million jobs in agric sector by 2015 –Okonjo-Iweala

By on April 22, 2013

In a bid to reduce its teeming unemployed population, Nigeria will generate about 3.5 million jobs in the agricultural sector by the end of 2015.

This was disclosed at the weekend by Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at a briefing by African Ministers of Finance at the ongoing World Bank/IMF meeting in Washington DC.

Okonjo-Iweala said this is achievable due to investments the Federal Government has made in the sector in the last few months, leading to an improvement in the value chain, and the way agriculture is being carried out in the country.

According to the minister, “It is important that once you have established micro economic stability, you should be able to look at how the growth is impacting, and that is why the Nigerian government has taken some steps to ensure that we create jobs and also improve on the standard of living of the people.

“For instance, we are planning to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2015, and that is why the current Minister of Agriculture has said that agriculture is no longer to be seen as a project, but as a business”, she added.

She emphasised the need for African countries to work harder at creating their own markets, work on internal demand and reduce barriers among African nations, to be able to stimulate growth and reduce the continent’s vulnerabilities.

She said the continent is concerned about its growth rate and that is why it is saying that the Eurozone and other developed countries need to work harder so that growth rate in those regions does not slow down, as that will affect African countries.

Okonjo-Iweala also disclosed that African countries are now looking at how to attract private sector activities in order to confront some challenges they face.

“We know growth is uncertain and because of the impact of the demand of our products, we also face some vulnerability; and also, there is the problem of youth unemployment and infrastructural deficiencies, among others.

“We know all of these exist and we are working hard in our respective countries to tackle them so that this growth can be translated to wealth in the lives of the citizenry”, she said.

She therefore called on African nations to strengthen corporation within the region to help the continent put in place a development framework that will be good for the entire continent.