By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has stated that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed with Kebbi State on agricultural commodity value chain was in line with the agenda of the Federal Government to diversify the economy.
Speaking in Birnin KebbiÂ on Saturday, Ambode also stated that the pact would go a long way in ensuring food security and job opportunities for the people.
Ambode, who was on a one-day official visit to the State as to further steps to cement the agricultural partnership, said he was totally committed to the success of the relationship as it would not only boost the economy of the two states but would increase Nigeriaâ€™s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
â€œThis relationship is visionary and it is also a pointer to the fact that the two states have decided to openly support the vision of Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari.
â€œThe change mantra which President Buhari has been preaching is what this whole relationship is all about that we must look inward. We must start to reintegrate our economy in such a manner that we must not continue to import what we can produce and we must create a value chain where we have comparative advantage to do so.
â€œKebbi is one of the major producers of most agricultural products in Nigeria, whereas Lagos State is the major consumer of most of these products and we have the market and the population to take on everything that is being produced and that is why the value chain in which we have tried to embellish is very important to the two states. And so we are committed to doing this for Mr. President.
â€œThis visitation is a continuation of where we started from. We want to take the next steps and we know that the next steps are steps in the right direction,â€ the Governor said.
He added that beyond collaboration on rice production, the Lagos State Government has also decided to create value chain on every other agricultural products from Kebbi State first to the people, which would in turn create jobs for the people and make the economy of Nigeria to become more vibrant thereby increasing the GDP.
On his part, Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu described the MoU as an innovative partnership that would lead the way positively for Nigeria.
He said years of policy distortion had demoralize local producers of rice and other agricultural products from competing with their foreign counterparts, which had in turn affected the economy of Nigeria negatively, but expressed optimism that the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi States will right the wrongs of the past.