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Don’t release money for food, fertiliser importation, Buhari instructs CBN Governor

Valentine Chinyem

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President Muhmmadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withhold funding for importation of food items and fertilizer.

The president gave the directive on Thursday at the meeting of the National Food Security Council (NFSC) in Abuja.

In a statement issued by Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, the president reiterated his earlier stans, instructing the Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, ”nobody importing food should be given money”, adding that he will pass it down in writing.

Emphasising the need to boost local agriculture and also create massive job opportunities through the federal government’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), Buhari said, ”from only three operating in the country, we have 33 fertilizer blending plants now working. We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import fertilizer. We will empower local producers.”

More so, the president urged blenders of fertilizer to always convey products directly to State governments, this is important, he noted, if they are to skip the cartel of transporters who take undue advantage of delivering the products to users at reasonable price.

Buhari advised private businesses bent on food importation to source their foreign exchange independently, saying ”use your money to compete with our farmers”, instead of using foreign reserves to bring in compromised food items to divest the efforts of our farmers.

”We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work and agriculture is the answer. We have a lot to do to support our farmers,” Buhari said.

The meeting, which was chaired by the President, also had in attendance, the Vice Chairman of the council and Kebbi Governor Atiku Bagudu; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and a Governor from each of the six geo-political zones – Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba, Ebonyi, Lagos and Kebbi, made presentations.