Following the events of the National Food Security Council, President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele not to release funds for both food and fertilizer importation.
The event which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday saw the President insist on the notion that firms that were bent on importing food should source their foreign exchange elsewhere.
Buttressing his views as to why food importation should be discarded, President Buhari in a statement revealed that the country now has 33 fertilizer blending plants working effectively; from the three that existed hitherto. Thus, Nigeria will not pay a kobo of her foreign reserves to import fertilizer; rather she will empower local producers to take up the task.
Furthermore, he also directed that blenders of fertilizer should convey products directly to state governments so as to skip the cartel of transporters undermining the efforts to successfully deliver the products to users at reasonable costs.
With reference to private businesses that are keen on food importation, President Buhari advised them to source their foreign exchange independently. His words: “use your money to compete with our farmers, instead of using foreign reserves to bring in compromised food items to divest the efforts of our farmers’’.
He stated that agriculture is the answer, given the fact that the country has a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work. To this end, the Federal Government will do its best possible to support the local farmers.
Meanwhile, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, in its reaction, warned that the directive could cause further inflation, stating that the country is yet to be sufficient in food production. Hence, the need for forex to import some food product.
According to the acting Director-General of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Ambrose Oruche, he stated that with the country not self-sufficient in food production there would be more inflation if there was no forex to import food items such as sugar and flour.