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The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj.-Gen. Muhammad Buhari (retd), who promises his administration would focus on agriculture, mining, infrastructure and job provision at the top of its economic agenda, on Monday said if elected on February 14, he would ban the importation of basic items like rice and tomato in order to enhance local production of the products.
Buhari, who gave a summary of how he intended to revive the economy in a meeting with the Organised Private Sector in Lagos, said his government would place emphasis on three key issues of security, tackling corruption and reviving the ailing economy.
“How can Nigeria be importing virtually everything? How can we be importing even tomatoes? If I am elected, basic items like rice and tomatoes, which we have the capacity to produce, will be banned from being imported,” Buhari said.
Also on Power (Light) and other basic needs, he added, “Our studies show that we will require no less than 200,000 trained personnel to support the initiative to provide power and light up Nigeria.
“Apart from the inherent direct employment that this will give, the reduction in the cost of production, the savings from self-generation by Nigerians, who currently spend a lot of their income on purchase of diesel and petrol to generate their own electricity, will reduce the burden on their disposable income.”
An existing plan to build a refinery in Lagos will be supported by the Federal Government, according to Buhari.
Another area of infrastructure investment that will receive attention, according to him, is road and highway construction from one end of the country to the other.
He said his administration would concentrate on roads and highways that linked the states, while state governments would be expected to connect their respective areas to the highways.
Buhari said, “Road construction alone will unlock value chain of opportunities for construction companies, builders, engineers, architects, quarry operators, cement and iron rod producers and suppliers.
“The successful opening up of Nigeria by the construction of new roads and highways will revive road transport, truck manufacture, tyre manufacture as well as engine oil and brake pad production on one hand. It will also create a demand for job for mechanics, drivers and those engaged in transport support businesses.
“We expect a revival of all the interstate economies to thrive across Nigeria, providing support to travellers by way of canteens, restaurants, farm produce etc.”
He, however, said because corruption was affecting the performance of the economy, he would tackle it headlong if elected into office.