President Muhmmadu Buhari has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withhold funding for importation of food items and fertilizer.
The presidential order was issued on Thursday to CBN Governor Godwin Emiefile during the meeting of the National Food Security Council (NFSC) in Abuja.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari restated his earlier verbal directive to the apex bank, saying he would pass it down in writing that ”nobody importing food should be given money.”
The Federal Government had rolled out the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), the core of which is self-sustainability and massive job creation through agriculture.
Emphasising the needs to boost local agriculture, the President 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.”
Buhari also directed that blenders of fertilizer should convey products directly to State governments so as to skip the cartel of transporters undermining the efforts to successfully deliver the products to users at reasonable costs.
The President 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, chaired by the President with other key members of the Council in attendance, was briefed on the food security situation prevailing in the country.
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.