From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Charles Aniagwu said the economic blueprint of the party’s Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar would address rising food inflation in the country.
He said Atiku was the only presidential candidate that is into agricultural production and would stimulate certain processes which will include soft loans, access to land, fertilisers, farm implements as well as agro processing to improve the agricultural value chain.
Speaking on the PDP’s Economic Blueprint on a live television programme, Aniagwu said Atiku was already practicalising production and processing as farmer and was desirous to implement strategies aimed at improving the agricultural value chain with a view to bringing down the very disturbing food price inflation in the country.
“As a successful farmer, Atiku owns Adama Farms and they are into the production of beverages and other products in the food value chain, he already knows that for the private sector to have a role you need to be able to stimulate certain processes including access to soft loans, ensure access to land are made easier.
“Specifically, Atiku is very clear that to stimulate growth in the agricultural sector, you need make access to farm inputs such as fertilisers, tractors and other needed facilities including seedlings much more easier for farmers to access.
“In doing so, it is not only production but improve the food value chain by ensuring that the man who produces must also have access to processing.
“When you produce without processing, the goods would rot away and because the farmer is scared of losing his money he may sell at prices far below what its supposed to be.
“Atiku is looking beyond giving them access to farm inputs, after production, he is also interested in the other value chain which is how to dispose what you has been produced.
“He will also make veterinary services available for aquaculture and animal farming, irrigation for all year round farming as well as animal husbandry, ranching and access to funds.
“So with all of these incentives, the farmer would upscale from subsistence level to commercial level where beyond feeding themselves and those around them, they can also earn a living and also acquire other things that makes life better,” he said.
On power sector reforms, Aniagwu said Atiku would ensure that states with capacity to generate power would be given opportunity to do so just like Delta has done.
According to him, “the idea of leaving power generation in the hands of the Federal Government is not good enough for a developing country like Nigeria.
“Although there seems to be some form of quasi-liberalisation of the power sector but it has not been backed by relevant laws such that you take away both generation, transmission, distribution and then make it possible for individuals to be able to generate power if they have the capacity.
“He is going to make it possible for individuals to be able generate captive power like what we are doing in Delta, where almost every government facility is powered by our Independent Power Plant.
“What that does is that you are able to have a reasonable amount of power supply which today Nigerians agree is the bane of our development and once he is able to address the issue of power challenge through this decentralisation of power generation, distribution and transmission, then we would have been able to address the many challenges facing Nigerians particularly the micro and medium scale industries we have in this country.”
He said aside interventions in the power sector, “Atiku has also proposed a $10 billion intervention fund for MSMEs for them to also become players in our economic space as the case in China.
“All of these packages he will unfold with his running mate Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa for the purpose of helping our country’s economy recover which today is in a very comatose situation,” he added.