African Union, Economic, Social, and Cultural Council, Nigeria chapter, has commended the federal government decision to stop provision of foreign exchange for importation of food items into the country.
The Council, in a statement signed and issued yesterday by its Nigerian representative, Hon. Oba Olasunkanmi John in Abuja, noted that such decision will enhance Nigeria’s development in agriculture and enable producer in the sector harness the benefit of the African continental free trade agreement signed by the country recently.
It, however, urged the federal government to ensure adequate investment in the agricultural sector to enable the country meet up with the food demand that has been one of the major reasons for food importation.
The Council also commended the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN for its agricultural friendly policies and said indeed the decision on forex suspension will truly improve the nation’s agricultural production and attainment of full food security.
It, however, advised the apex bank to ensure that the huge funds the country spent on importation of food are channeled toward agriculture to reverse the trend.
According to the Council, Nigeria’s huge annual food import is detrimental to the nation’s strives to achieve food sufficiency.
It further called on the federal government to stamp out smuggling totally as the policy may increase smuggling if not properly manage.
“There is no more excuse for the government not to increase budgetary allocation to the sector now in accordance to the Malabo declaration with Nigeria is signatory to”, the Council stated.
It called on farmers in Nigeria to take advantage of this to produce sufficient food and urged research institutes to assert their importance now to develop through time tested research that would enhance Nigeria efforts at attaining food sufficiency and security
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