HOUSE of Representatives yesterday argued that the country’s dwindling economy can be revived by boosting palm oil production across Nigeria. The lawmakers, therefore, urged the federal government and governments of palm oil producing states to take all necessary measures to encourage large scale production of palm oil for export to earn foreign exchange. The decision followed a motion titled: “Need for Revival of Large Scale Production of Palm Oil in Nigeria” sponsored by Hon. Emmanuel Akpan. In his lead debate, Akpan explained that in view of the downturn in Nigeria’s economy which might not be unconnected to the sharp fall in the price of crude oil in the international markets; there was need for the country to diversify into agriculture, especially palm oil production. He said palm oil production could earn the country foreign
exchange as the product was in high demand all over the world. The lawmaker advised that to ensure large scale production of palm oil, the governments, particularly the palm oil producing zones, need to provide incentives for private investors to establish oil palm plantations. Akpan argued that if small holders, who were presently producing about 80% of the country’s palm oil and the large scale investors were provided with needed incentives, there would be an increase in palm oil production for local consumption. Other contributors to the debate said the motion was timely and a wake up call for the federal government to act fast in diversifying the country’s economy rather than paying leaps service. In its ruling, the House adopted the motion and mandated its Committees on Agricultural Production and Services and Commerce to ensure implementation and report back within eight weeks.

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