Nigeria’s President Buhari in the meeting of the National Food Security Council held on Thursday at the State House in Abuja, directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to give foreign exchange for food and fertilizer imports
Buhari seized the moment to reecho his administration’s commitment to ensuring Nigeria is self-sufficient in food production.
.”From only three operating in the country, we have 33 fertilizer blending plants now working,” he explained, stressing that “We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import fertilizer. We will empower local producers.”
He counselled businesses bent on the importation of food to source their foreign exchange independently. And sounding sarcastic said, ”use your money to compete with our farmers.”
”We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work and agriculture is the answer,” he added. “We have a lot to do to support our farmers.”
Meanwhile, this directive has attracted knocks from Nigerians particularly those engaging in the business and its chain as they argued that the CBN’s policies should not be imposed by a political authority.
But Garba Shehu, a Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media while fielding questions on a televised programme in a private TV station said the move by President Buhari to suspend the giving of foreign exchange for food and fertilizer imports, is an action borne out of patriotism. “Nigerians must give consideration for the fact that the President’s directive to the CBN is driven by nothing other than a patriotic motive,”
And commenting on people who are of the opinion that the directive was too overbearing on CBN, Shehu said, “I am not sure there is anywhere in the world that the Central Bank is so independent that it will operate as foreign ownership”.
Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning had disclosed that the government will facilitate the cultivation of 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of new farmland in every state and back the take-off of agro-processing to create millions of job opportunities.
Nigeria, she continued, will equally support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help them keep their employees and boost local manufacturing.