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FG Sets To Dole Out Stimulus Package To 2.4m Households- Kwasari

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In an effort to ensure food security for citizens, at least 2.4 million households have been penciled to benefit from the federal government’s post COVID-19 stimulus package, the presidency disclosed on Sunday.

Senior special assistant to the president on Agriculture, Dr Andrew Kwasari, gave the hint in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

Kwasari was speaking against the backdrop of the number of projects anchored by the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Committee to secure the economy against the effects of COVID-19.

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The stimulus package would be provided through the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan, under the agricultural sector of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan.

The NESP, set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2020, is being chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, with members from key sectors of the economy, to forestall the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on the economy.

Kwasari said, “The Economic Sustainability Committee needed to be very strategic in utilising the minimal resources, overall, not only for the agriculture sector.

“So for the agricultural sector, we decided that we will use this strategy to utilise available cash to work with financial institutions, led by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“To see how we can get stimulus packages to about a minimum of 2.4 million households or to fund 2.4 million hectares of land that will be cultivated during this 2020 wet and dry season farming”.

The presidential aide added that it was in a bid to answer the question: “What must Nigeria do to ensure food sufficiency in the wake of COVID-19?” that the agricultural sub-sector of NESC decided to clearly define and understand the global scenario of the pandemic.

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He continued: “The Nigerian economy was already disrupted; we had lost a large share of our GDP income which comes from oil.

“So with this reduced GDP, even if there is stable food systems supply, Nigeria may not be able to afford importation of food in order to feed over 200 million people.

“Imagine then where we have both global food system disruption in productivity and output and the loss of national income from oil revenue losses. Then we are in a more dangerous situation”.

He further stated that Nigeria opted for large scale food production to cushion the effects of COVID-19 due to dwindling resources.

“Nigeria has a plus in terms of a large population that can be channeled into food production, so we capitalised on it to grow food during this 2020 wet season and dry season farming,” he said.

Kwasari noted that in tackling the problem of the impending economic depression, the committee also had to increase its limited resources to reach the larger population of indigent Nigerians.

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Hammed Tajudeen is the editor in-chief of Blaze News, holds Higher National Diploma(HND) in Mass Communication, graduated from Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.

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