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‘Leakages, corruption may frustrate chances of early exit from recession’

Contrary to trending speculations by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some development analysts that Nigeria may exit recession by third quarter. a traditional ruler, the Elerin of Adanla Kingdom, in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, Oba David Oyerinola, has called on government to raise the bar in fighting official corruption which will end all manner of leakages.

He said most affected by the leakages include infrastructure funding and the agriculture value chain, noting that strategic monitoring of fund disbursement in the sectors will be effective.

On the real challenges of farmers, the monarch said “There are so many areas when we talk about investing in agriculture. What happens to storage, all the leakages? There are leakages in storage system, leakages in distribution of agricultural inputs, leakages in different areas. If all these leakages are plugged, I am very sure that the bumper harvest will be well managed and as an economist, the moment the supply is more that demand, the price will surely be affected. So, we are just declaring bumper harvest on the media but practically, we are not seeing it in the market because of the leakages. These leakages, if they are blocked, then we will have all these products in our market.”

Explaining more in an interview, Oba Oyerinola, who doubles as a lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Ilorin, averred that recession was a global phenomenon.

He argued that a mono product-based economy like Nigeria would always be susceptible to economic recession due to the fluctuation in global oil market prices.

According to him, getting out of the current recession demands that Nigeria must embrace diversification in agricultural, provision of infrastructure and delivery of ease of doing business.

According to him, “We are endowed with arable land that can grow 90 percent of the food stuff that we are importing in this country; if the government is well committed and those in government monitor the disbursement of funds to agriculture, there is no reason, with the Basins that we have- the FADAMA etc, there is no reason this country should be importing rice.”

“What the government needs to do is to be more committed. Commitment is what is needed, not lip service. It is not that they are not budgeting for agriculture, but this money allocated is going to wrong hands”.

“The ongoing anti-corruption campaign is good but it needs to be monitored to the grassroots because we are talking about implementation. It is not the issue of budgeting but implementation; the people that are taking agric loan, are they really investing it? If they are, what happens to the harvest? Is it being retained in the country or some people are smuggling it out? All of these we need to monitor them and you have to look at Nigerian borders- very porous. The way they are smuggling rice that are grown with taxpayers money out of this country to neighbouring West African countries; you know the resultant effect of that- the government has released money, the investment has been carried out but there is nothing to show for it.”