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By NBF News
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'Our growth in the 2010-2011 periods has been broad-based. The economy recorded impressive growth of 7.85 per cent in 2010 and 7.72 per cent as of the second quarter of 2011 compared to 5.2 per cent forecast for sub-Sahara Africa. Medium-term prospects are also bright, with real GDP growth projected to remain strong over the period.

President Jonathan gave allocations to some critical sectors of the economy as follows: Security – N921.91 billion; Power (including Bulk Trader, Nelmco, and Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO)] -N161.42 billion; Works – N180.8 billion; Education [excluding Universal Basic Education Commission, Petroleum Technology Development Trust Fund (PTDF) and Education Trust Fund) – N400.15 billion; Health – N282.77 billion; and Agriculture and Rural Development – N78.98 billion.

Others are: Water Resources – N39 billion; Petroleum Resources - N59.66 billion; Aviation – N49.23 billion; Transport – N54.83 billion; Lands & Housing – N26.49 billion; Science & Technology – N30.84 billion; Niger Delta – N59.72 billion; Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) – N45.57 billion and Communications Technology  – N18.31 billion.

Government, the president said, will introduce further fiscal policy measures to support the development of the agricultural sector and in this respect, he added that the duty on machinery and certain specified equipment for the sector will, effective from January 31, 2012, attract zero duty.

'We will further look at supportive fiscal policies for the rice and wheat sectors to stimulate domestic production.

'Government is also introducing policies to encourage the substitution of high quality cassava flour for wheat flour in bread-baking. Bakeries will have 18 months in which to make the transition, and will enjoy a corporate tax incentive of 12 per cent rebate if they attain 40 per cent blending.

'With effect from March 31, 2012, importation of cassava flour will be prohibited to further support this programme.

'All equipment for processing of high quality cassava flour and composite flour blending will enjoy a duty free regime as incentive to bakers for composite flour utilization.'

It is common wisdom that the best way we can grow our economy and create jobs for our people is for us to patronize Nigerian-made goods. This is why we are introducing enabling policies to drive this process. In this regard, we are introducing fiscal policy measures that will encourage the purchase and utilization of locally produced commodities.