REMARKS BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI DURING AN AUDIENCE WITH THE MEMBERS OF PRESIDENTIAL FERTILISER INITIATIVE AT THE STATE HOUSE
FRIDAY, 2ND MARCH 2018
I am very pleased to receive your presentations today. I am extremely impressed by how the programme has evolved since my meeting with His Majesty, the King of Morocco 15 months ago.
2. I have been monitoring your progress closely. But hearing it first hand and seeing your faces today is truly a wonderful experience.
3. In your presentations today, we have heard stories of sacrifices, where all the stake holders agreed that collective progress superseded personal interest.
4. Firstly, let me thank the Governor of Jigawa State who virtually relocated to Abuja to oversee the successful take off of this project. I must also express my profound gratitude to the people of Jigawa State for allowing us to borrow him on this very important national assignment which indeed, has changed the lives of millions of Nigerians across the country.
5 I will also congratulate the members of the Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) for their remarkable work to date. Under the able leadership of your President, Thomas Etuh, you were able to produce quality products and make it available and affordable across the country within three months. Although you were all competitors in the past, you all put aside your differences and came together to deliver on this important program. So thank you for putting Nigeria first. You must continue on this track.
6. I am impressed by the commitment of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to this project. You moved away from your comfort zone and pushed your capital into the rural economy. I always talk about the endless opportunities in the rural economy if only people would look with an open mind. I will urge you to continue on this track. Unless we create an inclusive and diversified economy, the progress of our country, and its future generations, will always be held hostage by external factors such as global oil prices.
7. Special thanks to the three banks. I was told by my Chief of Staff that when this project started, over 15 banks were asked to participate. But only three of you answered this call. I want to ask you to continue to support the PFI expansion plans presented today. Government will continue to work and provide the enabling environment.
8. Unlike in previous Governments where trucks conveying fertiliser would miraculously disappear in transit, in 2017, none of the three thousand, three hundred and thirty three (3,333) trucks that participated in this program went missing. I want to assure all participants of the PFI that, we will continue to provide adequate security so that this program, and its positive impact on Nigeria, is sustained.
9 We are all aware of the great partnership between the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and State Governors to ensure Nigeria feeds itself. I want to encourage you to continue on this track. Specifically, you must all support programs like the PFI and work together to ensure we never return to the dark days of import dependence. I am pleased to hear that already, the CBN is working with the commercial banks on programs that will further expand and enhance the PFI.
10. The rains are upon us. Farmers in the Southern part of the country will be planting soon. We must all do our bit to ensure fertiliser is readily available.
11. Therefore, the Ministry of Finance and NSIA should immediately engage the Governors Forum to conclude their orders.
12. The Ministry of Agricultureand Rural Development should conclude the planning for all Government programs for the 2018 season to ensure synergy.
13. The CBN working with the commercial banks should ensure affordable capital is available to the farmers and agro dealers.
14. The NSA and the security agencies should be ready to allow and protect the movement of all agricultural goods. Specifically, issues relating to end user certificates must be prioritised.
15. The NPA should provide all the necessary support required to expedite the offloading and evacuation of the imported materials.
16. And finally, the NSIA and FEPSAN, under the able leadership of the Governor of Jigawa, must ensure quality and affordable fertiliser is available to farmers at the right time.
17. Once again, I congratulate all of you for the exceptional work you have done to date and assure you that this Administration will do all it takes to make sure this programme continues to grow and impact lives.
18. Nigeria’s journey to self-sufficiency and food security is not negotiable.