The Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, has revealed that the federal government may resort to food importation as a short-term strategy to address the increase in the prices of food items in the country.
Idris disclosed this to State House correspondents after the last leg of a series of three meetings of the Special Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention at the Aso Rock Villa on Thursday.
According to him, the government is exploring different options to address the food inflation crisis in the country, which currently stands at 33.93% as of December 2023.
The minister also affirmed the government readiness to take punitive measures against those he called food hoarders.
- “Now, the third item is that government is also looking at the possibility, if it becomes absolutely necessary, as an interim measure in the short run to also import some of these commodities to address food inflation “.
FG releases 102,000 metric tons of grain
According to Idris, President Bola Tinubu has directed the prompt release of over 102,000 metric tons of diverse grain varieties from both the National Food Reserve and the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria.
- “The first one is that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has been directed to release about 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, garri, and other commodities in their strategic reserve so that these items will be made available to Nigerians: 42,000 metric tons immediately.
- “The second one is that we have held meetings with the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria. Those who are responsible for producing this rice and we have asked them to open up their stores.
- “They’ve told us that they can guarantee about 60,000 metric tons of rice. This will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigerians the next one month to six weeks, perhaps up to two months,” he added.
What you should know
- Nigeria currently faces a soaring price in food inflation. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s food inflation is 33.93% as of December 2023, the highest it has been in almost a decade.
- This rise in the prices of food items has prompted the federal government to declare a state of emergency on food security in the country. Also, the minister of information, Mohammed Idris, noted that the government has decided to open the National Food Reserves as part of the measures to crash food prices.
- Meanwhile, human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, SAN, took the federal government to court regarding the challenges of rising food prices in the market.
- The high court in Lagos on Wednesday, February 7, ordered the government to fix the prices of goods and petroleum products within 7 days.