Nigeria is now the second largest producer of rice in the world according to Malam Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity.
His claim has not been officially verified, but Daily Trust reports that he said this at a special interactive session with the youths organised by Citizens Support for Good Governance in Nigeria (SGGN) in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
Speaking on the efforts being made by President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the economy, Garba Shehu who called for patience among the citizens of the country, reportedly said the current administration met a ravaged economy and citizens used to lifestyles that could no longer be sustained.
“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 adding that the government intends to reach the target of 500,000 jobs in 2017 having stopped at over 300,000 in 2016 because of challenges with the economy.
“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,” he noted adding: “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.”