Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that the federal government will increase the country’s foreign exchange earnings and raise the value of the Nigeria’s currency through a sustained diversification plan that would involve steadily moving away from the current mono-product economy.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo spoke while answering questions from journalists in Enugu, during a visit over the weekend.
The vice-president said raising the value of the naira would take a multi-pronged approach, including ensuring that there was an increase in earnings, exporting more and driving infrastructural development through local and foreign direct investments.
According to him, this forms a critical part of the current federal government’s diversification agenda of the economy, adding that the government had already embarked upon a plan for self-sufficiency in rice and wheat production to reduce pressure on foreign exchange.
He said the Presdient Muhammadu Buhari administration’s economic policies would produce a stronger naira.
The vice-president said by earning more and exporting more, the value of the naira would improve say: “We are trying to ensure that we are self-sufficient in rice production and wheat production, so that there will be less pressure on the dollar.”
He said the federal government was exploring how to expand and enlarge rice production through an effective partnership with several rice-producing states from the North.
The vice-president restated the federal government’s interest in ensuring that all inter-state roads in the South-eastern region are accessible to the ease commerce and movement of people.
Citing this as an important reason for government to embark on the repair of several federal roads in the region and across the country, Osinbajo expressed government’s readiness to intervene in addressing the national challenge for traders and commuters in the interest of the nation’s economic development.
Speaking on the rehabilitation of the Enugu-Port Harcourt-Onitsha road, he noted that he had already discussed the issue with the state Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who was with him during his private visit to the state and also hosted him briefly at the Enugu State Government House on Saturday.
He said: “We are certainly interested in ensuring that all of the access roads especially between states where commerce is thriving are in good condition. We are going to have a very good look at it to see what the financial constraints are.”
Osinbajo identified the dilapidated road networks as the major challenge facing the people of the South-east geo-political zone of the country, insisting that urgent steps should be taken to address the problem.
He, however, said the situation was clear to the federal government ,noting that despite government financial constraint at the moment, there was the need to make improvements on roads in the South-east where commerce thrives and people move about a lot to earn their living.
According to him, “Not just only one problem that the people of the South-east have in terms of roads, you know what our financial constraints are, there is a need for improvement on roads where there is a lot of commerce and movement of people. And I can assure you that we are not quiet about this challenge.”
Motorists within the zone had recently expressed dismay over the dilapidated road network in the zone, lamenting that major roads in the area had collapsed.
Of more importance is the Okigwe-Umuahia end of the Enugu-Port-Harcourt Expressway that has almost completely collapsed. The Enugu-Onitsha expressway as well as the Owerri-Okigwe expressway have also collapsed making it difficult for travellers to have a free movement on the roads.