OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has progressed on a bill that seeks to lift the ban on exportation of yam, beans, Cassava, maize and rice.

The House passed the bill through second reading. The bill was sponsored by Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno) and Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia).

Leading the debate, Monguno noted that the bill will help to diversify the economy, through generation of foreign earnings for the country, noting that “it is a well-known fact that the government is keen on diversifying the economy and it is taking a complex steps in creating jobs by making agriculture attractive for the people, young men and women can sell their produce to different markets.”

Speaking in support of the bill, Ade Adeogun (APC, Ondo) reminded the House that the immediate past minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbe, supervised the exportation of yam without knowing that he was actually breaking the law.

“18 months ago, a former minister of the country, actually supervised the exportation of yam, not knowing that he was actually breaking the law,” he said.

Opposing the bill however, Sada Jadi (APC, Katsina) argued that the move will threaten national food security as the country cannot presently guarantee food security.

“The intendment of the act was to strengthen our food security; are we sure we can guarantee our food security? What is our food reserve? Why do we have export promotion council? Yes it will boost our economy, but then it will have challenges for our food security,” he argued.

But Akin Alabi (APC, Oyo) countered that the bill will not endanger food security.

“This bill is what you call a no brainer; we have talked about the advantages, we have talked about foreign earning, and job creation. Many think that job creation is all about employing people into civil service, but through value chain in the agricultural sector, more jobs will be created.

“I understand the school of thought that the move will threaten food security, but I will respectfully disagree, market does not work that way,” Alabi said.

When the bill was put to question by the Speaker, the ‘ayes’ had it.

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