President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja said his administration would make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production within 18 months.
The president, who was speaking at the Ramadan breaking of fast with members of the business community, said 13 states of the federation had been identified for the production of the crop.
He said the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had already been briefed on how best to achieve the target.
Buhari decried the way and manner the nation’s scarce resources were wasted on the importation of food items by the previous regimes.
He said the nation had no option than to concentrate more on agriculture and solid mineral activities.
The president also condemned “the ruthless devaluation of naira’’, saying that he was yet to be convinced about the economic benefits of the exercise.
“How much benefits have derived from naira devaluation in the past?
“I don’t like the returns I get from the CBN because that coupled with the demand that let us devalue the naira, in August 1985 when the naira was N1.3 to a dollar now you need N300 or N350 to a dollar.
“What do we derive from that, how much benefit can we derive from this ruthless devaluation of the naira?
“I’m not an economist neither a businessman, I fail to appreciate what is the economic explanation.
“What has happened to us now is that we have maneuvered ourselves into mono-economy which led to the collapse we are seeing now.
“A lot of responsibilities now fall on your shoulders now. You have a lot of investments, a lot of people you employ,’’ he added.
In his remarks on behalf of the business community, Mr Kola Jamodu, expressed the readiness of the private sector to partner the administration in addressing the economic challenges facing the country.
He thanked the president for inviting them for the breaking of fast dinner. (NAN)