The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, says Nigeria has achieved the status of second largest producer of rice in the world.
Malam Garba said this in Abuja at the weekend at a special interactive session with the youths organized by Citizens Support for Good Governance in Nigeria (SGGN).
The presidential media aide, who spoke on the efforts being made by President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the economy, called for more patience.
He said the government met a situation in which the economy had been ravaged, while the people had been used to lifestyles that could no longer be sustained.
He said, “No country will develop when you have to import virtually everything, including tooth pick and tissue paper. All the food we eat in this country was being imported. So, all of the money earned was just going to buy food.
“But as I speak to you now, Nigeria just achieved the record of the second largest producer of rice in the world. The rice revolution just started a year ago. Some of you from Nasarawa know the kind of things going on there. A newspaper did an investigation in Kebbi and they found out that there were 48,000 new millionaires in Kebbi state alone last year for growing rice.
“This over reliance on oil has killed this country and we cannot continue like this. So, the diversification of the economy means more money will be in the hands of ordinary Nigerians. And there will be widespread prosperity all over the country.”
He said the government intended to reach the target of 500,000 jobs this year, having stopped at over 300,000 last year because the economy could not support it.
He expressed happiness that “the economy is getting better, oil price is going up and the policies of government in the Niger Delta are beginning to calm things down”.
Malam Garba added that “exploration and exportation of oil is growing, gas is coming back and power is getting better”.
“So, all we require of you is to be patient, President Muhammadu Buhari is a long distance runner. He is not looking for short-term gain that people will just clap at him and those advantages just disappear. He wants to build a future of prosperity, a future that will be everlasting -something that will stay for generation upon generation.
“And I assure that this is a beginning of the good things to come. We assure you that you support for President Buhari is not misplaced. It is well situated. We encourage you to continue to invest your future in the hands of the government PMB. Change will come to you.”