FG woos Saudi Arabia to Nigeria’s agricultural sector

The federal government has appealed to the government and private investors of Saudi Arabia to invest in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.

Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, made the call on Thursday at a business roundtable organised by the Saudi-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce in Abuja.

The meeting was attended by Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Abdulrahman Alfaddly, who led a delegation of top Saudi government officials and private sector operators to Nigeria.

Bagudu said before now, the main point of the relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia was oil, but that it has been discovered that agriculture provides more opportunities and has more absorptive capacity.

“I recall that when we visited your office in Saudi, you told us what we need to do to create an enabling environment to attract private sector investment. We appreciate that because we want to get it right, we want partnership, we want hundreds of trillions of dollars that can be absorbed in agriculture and we want partnership so that both Saudi Arabia and our private sector can be richly rewarded,” he said.

He said the Nigerian government is ready to partner with genuine investors to improve the agricultural system and ensure food security for Nigerians.

In his response, Alfaddly said food production, availability and accessibility are becoming a top priority for all countries. He said Nigeria has a comparative advantage in agriculture, hence the country is looking for an opportunity to invest in the country.

He said one of the solutions to the challenge of self-sufficiency is the ability to produce at a lower cost what is imported.

“Otherwise, you will continue to import. At a certain point in time, you may not be able to import while the local production is not available.

“So, we will examine all the opportunities and note the services we need to provide to the Nigerian farmers,” he said.

In a related development, Bagudu has charged the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) to concretise its active functionality for the development of the country.

The minister gave the charge when the Chairman of the Commission, Victor Muruako, and other management staff paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

He encouraged the group to study and emulate developed countries that had encountered challenges to what Nigeria is struggling with.

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