From Adedeji Fakorede, Lagos
The Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN) has expressed disappointment over the fiscal projection for the year 2019 allotment to agriculture and rural development sector fell short of expectation with 32.5 per cent or N38.69 billion lower than the N118.98 billion provided in the 2018 budget and may not be sufficient to sustain the sector in the current year.
Director-General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, in a media chat in Lagos, explained that government should know better that agricultural development was very critical to the growth and development of any country, saying that government should have further paid significant attention to the sector just as it did last year.
He said that agriculture was critical to raw material supply and food security in the country.
Ajayi-Kadir affirmed that it was very important to pay significant attention to the agricultural development through better budget
allocation while leveraging on backward integration.
According to him, without a better agriculture performance, it will be very difficult to achieve the economic growth and inflationary
assumptions made in the 2019 budget.
He chided government for reneging on its core economic diversification plan to promote agriculture, saying that the sector’s performance based on its budget allocation for this year could be bad unless alternative funding is secured for agric projects in line with government’s economic plan to aggressively develop the sector optimally.
He, however, commended the Federal Government for allocating N15.66 billion for promotion and development of agriculture value chain across more than 30 different commodities and N2.69 billion for extension services including other projects identified in the budget.
The DGA noted that this year’s general election could be the reason the sector’s budget dropped marginally, saying that agric sector had remained the toast of many agro entrepreneurs and foreign investors in the country.
“The allocation to agriculture and rural development is N80.29 billion, which is 32.5 per cent lower than N118.98 billion allocation of 2018. Agriculture development is very critical to the growth and development of any country. Agriculture is critical to industry raw-materials supply and food security in the country. It is therefore important to pay significant attention to the agricultural development through better budget allocation while leveraging on backward integration.
“Without a better agriculture performance, it will be very difficult to achieve the economic growth and inflationary assumptions made in the 2019 budget. Therefore, the N15.66 billion allocation for promotion and develop ment of agriculture value chain across more than 30 different commodities and N2.69 billion for extension services including other projects identified in the budget are commendable.”
While speaking on the country’s manufacturing performance last year, Ajayi-Kadir said: “Although, the performance of the manufacturing sector in the course of the year (2018) has remained positive, the oscillatory nature of the growth, however remained a source of concern for MAN and other stakeholders.
“For instance, in the first quarter of 2018 the growth rate stood at 3.39 per cent; fell to 0.68 per cent in the second quarter and later
increased to 1.92 per cent in the third quarter of the year.
“MAN attributes the poor performance of the sector to high cost of doing business, sluggishness in manufacturing activities due to the
heaps of unsold inventory majorly resulting from the delay in implementation of the budget during the year and dwindling purchasing