Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, ordered the financial organization of Nigeria ”not to issue a kobo” of the country’s reserves for the importation of food items and fertilizer.
This is because the federal rolls out the Economic Sustainability Plan and sets goal for National Food Security
At a gathering of the National Food Security Council at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari restated his earlier verbal directive to the apex bank, saying he will pass it down in writing that;
”nobody importing food should tend money.”
Emphasizing the need to boost local agriculture, the President said:
”From only three operating within the country, we’ve 33 fertilizer blending plants now working. we’ll not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import fertilizer. we’ll empower local producers.”
President Buhari also directed that blenders of fertilizer should convey products on to State governments so on skip the cartel of transporters undermining the efforts to successfully deliver the products to users at reasonable costs.
The President urges private businesses bent food importation to source their exchange independently, saying ”use your money to compete with our farmers”, instead of using foreign reserves to inaugurate compromised food items to divest the efforts of our farmers.
”We have plenty of able-bodied children willing to work and agriculture is that the solution . we’ve tons to undertake to to to support our farmers,” President Buhari said.
The meeting, chaired by the President with other key members of the Council attending , was briefed on the food security situation prevailing within the country.
Notably, the president of the council and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and a Governor from each of the six geo-political zones – Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba, Ebonyi, Lagos and Kebbi, made presentations.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, outlined measures introduced by the administration to tackle the unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic on the state as contained within the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
Among others, the Minister highlighted that the govt. will facilitate the cultivation of 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of latest farmland in every State and support off-take of agro-processing to form many direct and indirect job opportunities.
She also listed the creation of 774,000 direct jobs for a minimum of 1,000 young Nigerians in each government , the event of 300,000 homes once a year to supply a lift to jobs through the event industry, also because the connection of 25 million new users of electricity with the installation of Solar Home System (SHS) targeting 5 million households.
Dr Ahmed also briefed on the joint investment with the earth Bank to provide intervention fund to States to reinforce health infrastructure.
She said to ease existing financial hardships among the people, the govt. is additionally arising with low-interest loans for mechanics, tailors, artisans, petty traders and other informal business operators.
The Minister added that the federal will equally provide support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help them keep their employees and boost local manufacturing.
Dr Ahmed explained that from the recently approved N2.3 trillion stimulus recommended by the NESP, there will be expansion of broadband connectivity to boost job opportunities within the digital economy, a planned expansion of the National Social Investment Programmes including increase within the amount of beneficiaries just like the cash transfer beneficiaries, N-Power Volunteers, the Market Moni and Trader Moni schemes.
In his presentation, the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono told the Council that the state expects a bumper harvest of food items despite floods within the north and drought within the south.
He quoted the most recent market surveys to means that the recent hike within the worth of commodities is being reversed.
On his part, Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the govt. of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, reported the negative impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihood of citizens, while the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) expressed the hope of an early reopening of the partially closed borders given the progress made with neighbouring States in joint border patrols – one of the key conditions by Nigeria for reopening of the borders.