By Mukwuzi Joseph
Don’t give ”a kobo” for food, fertilizer imports, Buhari orders CBN
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria ”not to issue a kobo” of the country’s reserves for the importation of food items and fertilizer.
This is contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu.
Mr Garba said the President at a meeting of the National Food Security Council at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari restated his earlier verbal directive to the apex bank, saying he will pass it down in writing that ”nobody importing food should be given money.”
While emphasizing the need 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.”
The President 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.
President 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,” President Buhari said.