‎Why Food Price Hike Persists – FG

By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
The Presidential Task Force on Food Security recently set up by the Federal Government has identified reasons for the rising prices of food stuff across the country.
The Task Force yesterday presented an interim report to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of council meeting, Minister of agriculture and natural resources, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said  the committee realized that there were no shortage of food but the prices were unaffordable to Nigerians.
He said part of the crisis were the issues of high cost of transportation from places of production to the market.
He said “one of the things we found out is that the cost of transportation is becoming extremely high especially because most of our transpiration is by road and diesel prices have gone up and trucks are finding it difficult to move from place to place at old prices.”
To bring down the cost of transportation, Ogben said “we considered the following alternatives: using railway wagons along the current railway network. As we did before when we moved cattle from North West to Lagos, we brought down the cost and avoided the multiple taxation on transporters by local governments which delay movement.
“We have decided to work with the state governments and the police to reduce delays.
“We are going to adapt what they have in Ivory Coast. Trucks carrying foods are given labels. In fact, in Ivory Coast, they cannot be stopped for more than 10 minutes anywhere.
“Even if something serious has happened, the security agencies will follow them to their destinations and come back to investigate whatever has happened.
“Finally, we shall be looking into our reserves if in the next few days, the situation persist to see what we can bring out to lower the prices because another bumper harvest will be coming up again at the end of March.
There is really no starvation in the land. The other factor is what you know already. There is a lot of pressure on Nigerian food from West, North and Central Africa,” the minister noted.
He said “our food production is very robust and we are doing pretty well.”
Similarly, the FEC approved a set of measures to boost production and attract investments into the nation’s tomato sub sector.
Minister of trade and investments, Okechukwu Enelamah, said “these measures will include things we are doing to make sure we plant tomato round the year.
“Things like green house equipment; making sure that they can come in without any barriers or duties.
“They also include the use of both tariff and non tariff measures to address the issues Nigerians are most concerned about, which is the issue of dumping, issues around quality and the standards of what we consume.
“We also approved a set of measures that will boost local production in terms of financing seeds and all the other things.
“Let me say that the most important thing about these set of policies is that in our approach we are going to be working with the stakeholders to actually implement the polices. So, we are going to set up an inter-ministerial committee that will work with the private sector and with different stakeholders to make sure that the implementation of the policy itself it not only done transparently but also robustly to
ensure that we achieve the desired objective which is to make sure that we become self sufficient in tomato within the next one or two years.”
Minister of Power, works and housing, Babtunde Fashola, said the Council approved the construction of Ilorin-Omu Aran-Kabba Road, Section I in order to complement ongoing works on the Kabba-Egbe Road to link Kwara and Kogi States at the cost of N21 billion.
“The justification for the memo and consequent approval is consistent with our promise to continue to reduce travel time, to ease the cost of doing business and the cost of goods and services,” he said.
The Council, according to him, also approved “consultancy services for professionals to conduct line route studies, environmental/social impact assessment and resettlement action plan as well environmental/social management plan in order for us to access the Japanese International Corporation Agency’s loan to support TCN to continue its transmission grid expansion programme.
“Before we start the construction, we must do an assessment of the routes that some of the transmission lines will pas through.
“The projects for which approval has been obtained from council cover areas like Arigbajo, Abeokuta, Olorunshogo, Ikeja West, Oshogbo, Ogijo, Ikorodu, Shagamu and part of Benin towards Edo State contiguous to Ondo State around Omotosho as well as Agbara and Badagry.
When completed and construction takes place, it will help us in the evacuation of power from the Olorunshogo Power Plant to supply industrial clusters in Ogun and part of Lagos State.
The consultant service for the three is for about N589million.” he added.


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