View Full Version : Agriculture, Energy and Industry - The Basics Debates

Ishola Taiwo
Jan 27, 2009, 07:44 AM
Agriculture , energy and industry
Nero Africanus

The ability to feed itself has always formed the bulwark of human endeavour from the earliest times. For this reason it must be given priority.
I am of the opinion that the government should pay an active regulatory role in the agricultural productivity of any nation.

The reasons for this is this
The farmers needs to be protected from the vagaries of the market.
The govt needs to ensure that a minimum required to feed the people is produced.
Nigeria can solve the agricultural problem one and for all by capitalising a food and agricultural bank with sufficient finance to fix the price of food produce.

This can be done with the price of cassava being fixed per tonne, this would be the price that the food and agricultural bank will purchase cassava that the farmers produce in this way the farmers are insulated from falling prices and consumers are insulated from rising prices. The FAO will also ensure that Nigeria produces 5 million tonnes of cassava a year at least. This quantity of cassava is what we require to feed Nigerians for a year. . To ensure that this target is met, the FAO will sign contracts with small companies who will go ahead to operate cassava plantations whose produce will be sold to the FAO. In this manner the nation ensures that it produces at least 5million tonnes of cassava. This will be extended to other food produce.

If we succeed in doing this for every food produce Nigeria will once again become a food exporting nation, it will mop up unemployment as there will be a significant amount of labour required in producing 50 million tonnes of food. We shall establish plantations for cash crops which will be run on the same model as that for food crops, the processing of oil palm and cocoa takes up a significant amount of labour.

The government owes the citizens a duty to provide them with jobs. for this reason; it must ensure there is enough power to drive industrial processes,
In the case of Nigeria, it is essential that power is decentralised and left for local companies to run. However it is necessarily that the government provides power substations in every state, as soon as this power stations are up and running, they are sold in an IPO on the stock market. This model is necessary to prevent the PHCN debacle. This model will have the nation building a power generating station in every state of at least 150MW or 40 watts per person in the state whichever is higher. This will enable factories to function. With this kind of decentralised power generation, economic competition and rivalry will ensure as some power companies will perform while others will not. It is important that after the resource mobilisation that control of these companies is transferred to the private sector. In the short term, it is necessary to deploy bio fuel /fossil fired power stations while other sources of energy like hydro which takes time to build is implemented.

The beauty of this model that whatever the state spends on deploying these systems it will get it back once it is sold and this can happen within 6 months, the government also needs to privatise the national grid, but not before huge cash injections to fix distribution short falls in terms of overloaded transformers, faulty transformers and news areas of human settlement. As soon as this is done and an effective grid is up and running the grid should be sold to private investors where the owners of the national grid will charge the power generators a premium to distribute their power to the consumer. In this way the government assumes the traditional role of regulation. It can also maintain a minority stake as a source of revenue for the state.

I am a firm believer in management by objective, for this reason, the Nigerian state should set a target for itself to create 35 million new jobs in the country. It must be said at this point that if Nigeria grows enough food to feed itself, a large part of this target will already be met. Nigeria can create new jobs by control of importation. It can create a national industrial development board. This board will determine what we can realistically produce and award contracts to bidding companies to produce these things. Importation will be restricted to public companies that are held accountable for imports. As soon as the production companies produce toothpicks for instance, it will be transferred to the company in charge of the importation of that product. The whole idea is that at any point the company in charge of importation should be in a position to buy and distribute what is produced locally, no matter the quantity, at any point that is it not able to pay for the local produce and subsequent distribution then it is time for the foreign importation of the particular product to end.

In this manner, the NIDB will contract production at a fixed price out to companies and transfer the finished products to the importers to sell. In this way, foreign goods will be gradually phased out, while the risk of the producers is born by the importers.

As long as we continue this manner of import substitution there will be an increased industrial activity as high as the production contracts that the NIDB is able to sign with producers.

The whole underlying point is that Nigeria has been left to the market since the Abacha years but the market as refused to function or indeed allocate resources, the Nigerian state will create a frame work that reduces the risk inherent in the system which only it can. At some point , Nigeria will contract away all that is imported today and a new age will be ushered in a Nigeria in need of immigrants.

Apr 21, 2012, 08:55 PM
Sweet ideas, but do you ensure implementation? As far as I can tell, implementing such nice sounding plans on the ground has always been our main problem in Naija. Not with all those myopic, self-interested people you see all over the place, few of whom understand the importance of taking part in something bigger than one's self.