At Channels Television Sunrise Daily programme on Friday, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has stated that the prices of food item in the country has dropped as a result of the agricultural reform of President Muhammadu Buhari.
This was in reaction to the President’s directive on Thursday that the Central Bank of Nigeria should not release money for food and fertiliser importation henceforth.
Speaking also on the TV programme on Friday, a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, Dr Ahmed Adamu, faulted the timing of the policy because of the inflation already in the economy.
Adamu said, “It is also a wrong time because we have not built the right infrastructure and not supplied the right agriculture facilities and we have not built the entire agriculture value chain. We are also facing insecurity and a lot of farmers have been displaced from their farms and they cannot produce much. And now the government is discouraging cheap importation from other countries. It is going to create a lot of food scarcity in the country.
Reacting, Shehu said Nigeria’s land borders were closed not only to curb the importation of rice and other food products but to also curb the proliferation of small arms smuggled into the country to feed inter-communal crisis and banditry, amongst others.
The President’s spokesperson said, “To say the cost of food items is connected to the closure of the borders is absolutely wrong. And to say that the prices of food ain’t coming down, I think the scholar has detached himself from the market because we sat through the meeting of the National Food Security Council and we heard presentations by experts – people who had surveyed the markets.
“As of yesterday (Thursday) in the morning of the meeting, go and check the index in markets. For instance in Kano, millets that had gone up to N24,000 has now gone down to N12,000, N13,000. Rice that had been N25,000 is now N20,000. Corn, maize is now N18,000 for the old stock and N14,000…”