The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep Femi Gbajabiamila has said the closure of borders has created a boom for farmers in the country, claiming that the farmers are “smiling to the bank”.
The Speaker said the policy, has pushed Nigerian consumers to patronize locally produced food, especially Nigerian rice.
Gbajabiamila spoke in Surulere, Lagos State, on Sunday at his annual End of the Year Grassroots Empowerment Programme, according to a press statement signed by his Special Advisor on Media and Public Affairs, Lanre Lasisi.
The Speaker said, “I must say the impact of closing Nigeria’s borders to foreign rice is yielding results. I am sure so many farmers are now smiling to the bank. The volume of Xmas rice sales made by Nigerian farmers speaks to the emerging culture of eating what we grow.”
Gbajabiamila provided cash grants to some 500 beneficiaries in his Surulere 1 Federal Constituency to help boost their businesses, which is part of his annual End of the Year Grassroots Empowerment Programme.
23 people also received cars as part of the empowerment programme, computer business owners received power generating sets and photocopying machines while students received laptops.
“My vision and mission is that by the time we are done in four years, Surulere will never be the same again. That is an assurance. At least as of now, no fewer than 70 to 80 people in Surulere have become proud car owners in my time, and we will continue to do more.
“This year’s edition of our grassroots programme focuses on small businesses in our constituency and to better the income of constituents in the year 2020. It focuses on ease of transportation, and it breaks the cycle of poverty. There will be a minimum of over 500 people going away with N100,000 to N200,000 each to enhance their businesses.
“But I have put a caveat: there will be no disbursement until after Xmas and New Year. If you give somebody N200,000 now, he might spend it on yuletide activities. So, the grant is for you to develop your businesses so that N200,000 will become N2m and then N20m if properly invested.
“We are currently reconstructing Ibezim Obiajulu Street, Esther Dada-Adeniji Link road to Ishaga, Mery Eneli Street, Chief Bereola Street and the wholesome renovation of Elizabeth Fowler Primary School, Surulere,” he said.