The National Assembly has expressed disappointment over the meager budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector, stating that the current numbers may not address unemployment and fix the economy.
After a careful review of the budget, the Senate stressed that there was need to be more practical with budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Agriculture to create more jobs for youths.
It warned that failure to address the challenges bordering the youths would mean a repeat in the manner of the recent genuine #EndSARS protest.
The Federal Government in its budgetary provisions allotted the agriculture sector a little above N139 billion out-of-the total 2021 budget of N13.8 trillion.
Reviewing the agricultural and economic diversification policies of the President Buhari administration, the lawmakers submitted that the current performance level cannot lift Nigeria, a Guardian report revealed.
Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who cautioned that the country may not escape another youths’ protest, urged the government to effectively address the pertinent issues of unemployment and improve the livelihood of the youths.
“Recently we had protests by some of our youths some of them very genuine They were seeking the attention of leaders and they got the attention.
“So our budget especially for 2021 should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths. They demonstrated, they protested because they could do so.
“There are so many other people who may not be youthful but are also in the same need but they didn’t protest. Let us meet them where they are, we don’t want to wait until they also start to grumble or protest we should be proactive, we should run to them and they are in the rural areas.
“So we should meet them there, give them what we can within the purview of our resources and leave them there to live a productive life and that is the only way that we can make a difference in the lives of the people
“For us elected people, we have to be accountable if we escape this one, the other one is inescapable. I am sure we know what I am saying. So we do our best as we still have what it takes to work with the ministry of agriculture and the entire sector, Association of Farmers.
“Let’s meet them where they are and many of them are in the rural areas. Let’s give them what we can and keep them in the rural areas and make their lives productive
“On our part, we are going to be accountable. We escaped this [#EndSARS Protest]; the other one is inescapable,” he said.
The Senate President also advised that more efforts were needed to be practical put into the agriculture sector to accommodate more youths and transform Nigeria.
“Agriculture is enough to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria. Something that Buhari has not been able to do but Buhari happens to be able to do so. We need to be very practical and radical.
“I believe that the way we go cannot take us to Eldorado but there is every potential, every possibility than there are EndSARS. What can be better for a Government than to do better for its citizens? We need some resources, it is not even only money and resources but how we apply them”
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