Strengthening Agricultural Productivity Key to Job Creation
The International Monetary Fund, IMF, says that strengthening the performance of the agricultural sector is key to job creation, food security, and social cohesion amidst macroeconomic uncertainties that have filtered through key indicators.
In its mission report on the Nigerian economy, the multilateral lender stated that over the next decade, an estimated 25 million additional jobs will be needed to employ the new labour market entrants.
For agriculture to continue playing a strong role in employment and ensure food security, boosting production and yields through improved input usage, especially through affordable fertilizers and higher quality seeds, better storage facilities and more coordinated policy support across government agencies are recommended. IMF noted.
Also, it reiterates the position that addressing corruption remains critical to stimulating investment. The mission welcomed recent measures to fight corruption and promote the rule of law and accountability through the passage of the Proceeds of Crimes and Whistleblower’s Act, and efforts to increase the rate of asset declarations by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
However, Nigeria is still assessed to have widespread governance weaknesses and the mission was not able to assess progress in audits of the COVID related emergency spending.
The government should redouble its efforts to implement key aspects of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), including measures to reduce bribery, improve prosecution and conviction rates for corruption cases, as well as the confiscation of related proceeds of crime.
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The reopening of land borders earlier this year is a welcome move to facilitate trade. To speed-up compliance with rules on non-tariff barriers agreed upon under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the mission recommended making operational the already deployed scanners, which would limit tedious physical port inspection processes and contain customs delays.