The Federal Government has concluded plans to save about N315 billion per annum on the importation of wheat flour into the country.
The government plans to substitute part of the quantity of wheat used in the making of bread in the country with about 50% of cassava flour.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adeshina, Nigeria spends a total of
N635 billion per annum on the importation of wheat flour, yet is the highest producer of cassava in the world. The country produces 35million metric tons of cassava, but uses almost none of it, choosing instead to import wheat which it uses in the production of bread.
Following this, the Federal Government decided at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held on Wednesday to encourage the inculcation of about 50% of cassava produced flour into the bread market and this move is intended to save up to half the wheat importation cost, N315billion.
Adeshina said the Federal Government’s move is an opportunity for Nigerians.
“Nigerians must eat what we produce because we have to create market for our farmers. We have to make sure that we stabilise the prizes of the commodities produced here, we have to diversify our economy and we have to create a lot of jobs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the FEC also approved a loan facility for the co-financing of the Lagos Urban Transport Project 2 (LUTP).
At the FEC meeting, the Minister of Finance brought a memo to seek the Council's approval for the French Development Agency’s (AFD) credit in the sum of USD100 million to the Federal Government of Nigeria for the co-financing of the Lagos Urban Transport Project 2 (LUTP).
He explained that given the successful implementation of LUTP 1, the Lagos State Government applied to scale up the project through LUTP 2.
The LUTP 1 was implemented using the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) mode of transportion in the State. Having significantly achieved the development objectives of LUTP 1 which, among others, were to reduce travel time and transport fares of passengers plying the BRT routes, it was decided that the scheme be extended to other parts of the state with a view to increasing the number of direct beneficiaries.
According to him under LUTP 1, passenger's fare became stable with a 30% reduction of average, travel time was reduced by about 35%, ambient concentration of pollution posing health danger along the
corridor was reduced, 1500 direct graduate employment was created and over 50,000 indirect employment in the state.
The scheme has been a learning point for other states in Nigeria and countries around the world that have sent delegates to understudy the system. Foreign countries that had visited Lagos State to share experience on the project include Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Japan and UK.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said: “After deliberations, council approved that the Minister of Finance should execute the Financing Agreement of the AFD supported credit of USD100 million for the co-financing of LUTP 2.
“Council also directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to issue the legal opinion required to render the credit effective.
“This is a best example of how good the federal and state government can work together to improve services in the state.”