Agriculture crucial to economic recovery’

The plan by the Federal Government to inject billions of naira in stimulus packages into the economy has been described as a step in the right direction capable of setting the economy on the path of recovery.

However, there is a need for the government to pursue a sustainable economic recovery programme through an improved and coordinated approach to agriculture, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ife, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Olubunmi Akinlade, has said.

He said such steps would help to address the myriads of economic challenges facing Nigerians and put the country on the path to becoming a developed nation.

Akinlade stated these in a speech to herald the second session of the 9th synod of the diocese in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

While advising the government to make agriculture attractive to unemployed youths, the cleric urged policymakers to invite experts to assist with workable policies capable of reviving economic fortune.

He frowned at the government’s plan to tax religious organisations, saying policies at variance with socio-economic growth must be critically examined.

Akinlade said, “The stimulus the government is planning to inject into the economy is a positive step, but that is like a drop of water in the ocean. They need to do more, they need to be proactive, they need to invite economic experts and evolve plans that work.

“I think at this moment, the present government needs to re-strategise and look at its policies and how it can improve on them to make the suffering that people are going through now much less.

“Our nation Nigeria is going through a very serious economic recession coupled with avoidable dots of troubles in different parts of the nation. The economic recession has brought untold hardship to the downtrodden masses of the country. However, we still urge the government to invest more in agriculture.”

Stating the reasons why religious organisations should not be taxed, Akinlade said, “For the government to levy religious organisations to pay taxes, I think that is a wrong step because from time immemorial, churches and religious organisations have been exempted from taxes.

“This is because we are charity organisations; we are not money-making organisations. The funds we receive are used for social welfare like free medical services.”