Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on Nigerians not to despair in the current economic downturn, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was addressing the challenges.
Osinbajo He said that no country in the world could be successful without going through pains. Osinbajo, who also blamed the past administrations in the country for current problem, however, showed faith in the efforts of the current government to right the wrongs of the past. He spoke when he paid an unscheduled visit to Mpape artisans’ village, located near the Maitama district of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja FCT, yesterday. Accompanied by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, the Minister interacted with the artisans and made clarifications on some government policies and programmes. He stated the plans of the government to develop small businesses and at the same time create sustainable jobs for Nigerians.
He also assured of government’s commitment and determination to support the growth of small and medium scale enterprises in the country. He said the government had reinvigorated rice production programme to relaunch Nigeria on the path of improved and sustainable production of rice for domestic consumption, contrary to what was obtainable in the recent past. He said: “We are progressing but it is slow and the reason it is slow because there have been a lot of damage in the past. “For instance, look at what is happening in the Niger Delta; that is where we get most of the money. “But when the boys in the Niger Delta decided to start blowing up pipelines, production dropped from the 2 million barrels per day that we used to do, to 1 million per day and we lost 60 per cent of what we used to earn from oil. That is partly responsible for the problem that you see today. “Now, there are many people with jobs because we are beginning to produce rice, mill it locally and distribute. “In the meantime it will be expensive and when it is expensive, there will be suffering but that is the only way we are going to stop importing rice. “There is no country that can make progress without some pain.” Osinbajo also said government was serious with the fight against corruption, stressing that “if you don’t fight corruption, the money we are trying to get, some persons will pocket it and that is all and there won’t be anything.” Earlier, the artisans led by the chairman of Mpape Artisans Association, Mr Obafemi Adeleye, expressed delight at the presence of the Vice President at the village. He said the artisans who had never hosted a high-profile guest at the village want the Vice President to support them in securing a permanent location for the Mpape Artisans Village, assuring him of their unalloyed support for the administration’s policies on support small businesses. He said: “we have been trying to get a land for our mechanic village through our cooperative but we have not been able to get one. “We are suffering and have lost so much in the past years because we do not have a permanent place to do business. “We are very happy to see that big people like you are visiting places that many Nigerian politicians have never visited, we are very grateful for your visit today. “We are begging government to support us to get our permanent site, we are ready to pay our dues to get the land, we have visited the FCDA but we have not been successful so far.”