The Nigerian Senate is calling on the government to allocate a minimum of 10 percent of the total annual budget revenue to agricultural production.
Senator Salihu Mustapha, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Production, Services, and Rural Development, made this appeal on Monday during the joint budget defence session of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Abuja.
Both the Senate and House committees on Agriculture Production, Services and Rural Development expressed concerns about the challenges facing the agricultural sector.
Senator Salihu Mustapha, however, stressed that despite these challenges, the sector remains the largest contributor to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) from the non-oil sector, accounting for over 20 percent.
He lamented that the budgetary allocation to the sector falls short of the 10 percent target set in the Maputo Declaration, to which Nigeria has subscribed.
Mustapha emphasized the potential of the sector to lead millions of Nigerians out of poverty and ensure food security, imploring the executive to prioritize the agricultural sector in national economic policies and future budgets.
“The agricultural sector has the largest potential to lead millions of Nigerians out of poverty and provide the much-needed food security.
“It is, therefore, imperative that the sector should be given the utmost priority in national economic policies and future budgets.
“I, therefore, call on the executive to exercise the political will to allocate at least 10 percent of the national budgets and revenues to the agriculture sector,” he said.
He said the budget defence process was not only important but also sacrosanct.
Sen. Mustapha commended President Bola Tinubu’s efforts and the executive for their desire to revert to the January-December budget cycle.
This, he stated, would enable the Federal Government to provide the laudable objectives of physical infrastructure and socio-economic services to Nigerians.
“By this commendable effort, both the public and the private sectors will benefit from a budget cycle that is not only reliable but also predictable for planning and execution of their fiscal and financial policies and programmes.”
He stressed the importance of the budget defence process, affirming the willingness and commitment of the 10th Assembly to work together in passing the 2024 budget with the sense of urgency and responsibility it deserved.