President Muhammed Buhari has indicated that his administration would be putting a final stop to funding and giving support to companies that deal in importation of food items and fertilizers, but rather channel the government resources on empowering local farmers and producers that would add direct value to the nation’s economy.
Buhari said that the nation’s foreign reserves would be best used in areas of improving on investment that assist Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that his government was ready to double resources to the agriculture sector with the aim to ensure full diversification of the country’s economy.
To ensure full implementation of the plan, the President disclosed that he had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to release foreign exchange to private business operators desirous of importing food items and fertilizer into the country.
Buhari, who announced the new development at a meeting of the National Food Security Council held on Thursday at the State House, Abuja, advised private businesses bent on food and fertilizer importation to source their foreign exchange independently.
He noted that instead of using the country’s foreign reserves to bring in compromised food items to divest the efforts of local farmers, the private business operators should source for their money and compete with local farmers that were contributing to the country’s GDP.
Buhari noted that rather than private businesses to assistance on importation of food items and fertilizer, the business operators should partner the government to sustain achievements recorded and develop Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
He said: “From only three fertilizer blending plants in the country, we now have 33 plants now working. We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import fertilizer. We will empower local producers to do more for the country.
“We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work and agriculture is the answer. We have a lot to do to support our farmers,” he added.
Earlier at the meeting, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, reported that the pandemic has had a negative impact on the lives and livelihood of citizens.
Also, Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (retd) expressed hope of an early reopening of the partially closed borders given the progress made with neighbouring countries in joint border patrols, one of the key conditions by Nigeria for reopening of the land borders.