The prices of food items in Nigeria may be on their way up as President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Daura, Katsina State, disclosed that he has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country.
The former military junta turned politician justified his decision by unverifiably claiming that there is a steady improvement in agricultural production, and attainment of full food security.
The President, who hosted All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to Eid al-Adha lunch at his country home in Daura, said the foreign reserve will be conserved and utilized strictly for diversification of the economy, and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food import bills.
“Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country,’’ he said.
President noted that some states like Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano had already taken advantage of the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture with huge returns in rice farming, urging more states to plug into the ongoing revolution to feed the nation.
“We have achieved food security, and for physical security we are not doing badly,’’ the president boasted without offering a single proof.
Official government statistics reveal that since he assumed leadership of the highly populated African country, hunger and poverty have intensified and the country BA’s become more ravaged by decadent leadership, political strife and radical Islamic terrorism,
President Buhari, however, said he was particularly delighted that young Nigerians, including graduates, had started exploring agric-business and entrepreneurship, with many posting testimonies of good returns on their investments.
President Buhari said the incoming ministers will be “taught’’ and thoroughly guided to ensure they meet the targets of the APC-led government for the people, with regular monitoring of their performances and scaling up of targets by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).
The President assured that he will attend the Presidential Policy Retreat organized for the ministers by the OSFG, and insisted on compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that will directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, said the President’s sense of justice, fairness and forthrightness had turned a major inspiration to governors on the way forward for the country.
He said the challenges faced by states “were enormous’’, but the governors had remained undaunted, assuring the President of strong support and “the very best effort’’ to overcome all the obstacles.
The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, appreciated the President for the unique leadership style of maintaining a healthy relationship with governors on individual and collective basis, pointing out that they had been “energized’’ to do more in their states.
The governor commended the President for making bold and courageous efforts to reposition the economy for majority Nigerians through inclusive policies.
“The country is more secure than in 2015, and the country is more prosperous than in 2015 because you are working for the majority of the people,’’ he added.
The governor said the party had been repositioned, after the 2019 elections, to work for the benefit of the majority of Nigerians, noting that “there will two elections this year and we need to work towards winning the two states.’’
Most political analyst have attributed President Buhari’s meteoric rise to power in 2015, to a great extent, on his populist rhetoric and his promise to fight for the poor – especial the poorest of the poor. But, this is much to be seen as his administration have indulged continuously in policy summersaults and rigmarole; in most case trying to cut the nose to spite the face.
If this order is carried through, food importers would have to source foreign exchange from the notorious Nigerian Black Market at exorbitant rates the masses will ultimately bear the brunt of a policy based on a lame ideology and pedestrian political economy.