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‘Buhari did not ban food import’


Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity. Photo/greenb

AU lauds FG for forex restriction
President Muhammadu Buhari has not banned food importation into the country.

Stating this yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, added that it was out of place to insinuate that the Federal Government had banned importation of agricultural produce.

United Kingdom-based business newspaper, Financial Times, in the article ‘Muhammadu Buhari sparks dismay over policy shift on food imports’ on August 15, 2019, raised concerns that the Nigerian government was restricting the import of agricultural produce.

The presidential aide stated: “This is simply incorrect. To be absolutely clear, there is no ban – or restriction – on the importation of food items whatsoever.

“President Buhari has consistently worked towards strengthening Nigeria’s own industrial and agricultural base.

“Diversification of forex provision towards the private sector and away from top-heavy government control, a diversification of Nigeria’s industrial base, and an increase in tax receipt are all policies one might expect the Financial Times to support. Yet for reasons not quite clear, the author and this newspaper seem to believe the president’s administration seeks to control everything – and yet do so via policies that relinquish government control.”

But the African Union, Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AUECOSOC), Nigeria chapter, has commended the Federal Government’s decision to stop provision of foreign exchange for food import.

The initiative, according to AU, would enhance Nigeria’s development in agriculture and enable producers in the sector harness the benefit of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) recently signed by Buhari.

The council, in a statement signed by its Nigerian representative, John Oba, in Abuja yesterday, urged the government to ensure adequate investment in the agriculture sector to meet the country’s food demand, which fuels importation.

It commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its agriculture-friendly policies and said the decision on forex suspension would, among others, improve the nation’s food production and attainment of food security.

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