It is Anti-people to Ban Food Imports, PDP Tells Buhari

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*Asks Buhari to cut funds spent on luxuries in Presidency
President Muhammadu Buhari was Thursday told that his plan to ban food importation into the country is simply anti-people.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement said such policy was ill-timed and targeted against the welfare of Nigerians.
Such directive, the Party said, will worsen food scarcity in the country, cause harsh economic condition and despair.
The party said that President Buhari should instead cut the billions of naira being wasted on luxuries in his Presidency and free the funds for the welfare of the masses.
PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “It is indeed appalling that instead of bringing solutions to the depreciating living conditions in our nation, President Buhari is rather imposing more suffering by ordering the removal of subsidy on food even when it is manifestly clear that he had failed on all fronts to achieve any level of food security despite the huge resources available to his administration.”
“By the directive, the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have again demonstrated their insensitivity towards millions of Nigerians who are already suffering acute hunger and starvation due to severe food shortage and high prices brought by President Buhari’s misrule.”
“Such situation will only breed further despondency among our citizens, heighten our security challenges and put more pressure on compatriots, many of who, in the face of suffering occasioned by APC misrule, are resorting to suicide and slavery mission as options.
“Instead of removing subsidy on food and putting more suffering on Nigerians.”
“President Buhari to cut the billions of naira being wasted on luxuries in his Presidency and free the funds for the welfare of the masses”.
“it is a complete disservice to Nigerians for the government to place restrictive directives on food for the masses, while interests condoned by the same administration are frittering our common patrimony.”
“The PDP wants to believe that while Mr. President enjoys the comfort, luxury, sufficiency and safety of the government house, he is barely aware of the sufferings of Nigerians.
“Our party therefore charges President Buhari to im mediately rescind his directive before it inflicts more damage on the polity.”
Stakeholders had demanded for caution and clarifications on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop allocation of foreign exchange to importers of food items.
According to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), there is the need to be cautious on the plan as well as clarifications on the type of food items affected.
The Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadiri, said there is need for the government to be specific on which food items should be denied forex.
Kadiri said this was important since there are food items that serve as raw materials for manufacturers in Nigeria.
He said that whatever government should do to protect local economy was a good idea, but maintained that it can only be better if the food items were not those required by manufacturers in Nigeria.
Similarly, the LCCI’s Director General, Muda Yusuf, also said the President was not clear on the items to be affected.
He said the President needs to list the items to be involved.
Yusuf also condemned a situation in which the President interferes with the statutory responsibility of the CBN, adding that it was a monetary issue which should be left for the apex bank to handle.
He cautioned the federal government against making very hasty policy pronouncements that are capable of scaring investors.
The President had during the week directed the CBN to stop henceforth from giving official foreign exchange to importers of food items into the country.
Buhari said this was because Nigeria has attained food security and does not need such imports.
In a statement by the presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President explained that foreign reserves will saved and utilized mainly for diversification of the economy.
Buhari spoke when he received some governors who celebrated the Eid-el-Kabir with him in his home town, Daura, Katsina state.
Buhari was quoted saying, “Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country’’
The President identified Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano as having huge returns in rice farming, adding tha they took advantage of the federal government policy on agriculture.
He called on other states to embrace the policy of agriculture revolution in the country.
He said, “We have achieved food security, and for physical security we are not doing badly”
He expressed delight that some young graduates are beginning to go into agricbusiness and food entrepreneurship.
He disclosed that incoming ministers will be directed to meet the target of the administration for the people.
It would be recalled that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had in December 2018 disclosed that the country’s monthly food import bill fell from $665.4 m in January 2015 to $160.4m as of October 2018.
He said this led to savings of about $21 billion on food imports for the period.
According to him, foods imports were recorded rice, fish, milk, sugar and wheat.
He had also said there has been 97.3 per cent cumulative reduction in monthly rice import bills, 99.6 per cent in fish, 81.3 per cent in milk, 63.7 per cent in sugar, and 60.5 per cent in wheat.”

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