The President of the federal republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has expressed the concern of his administration regarding the sudden increase in the prices of food, t a time when the economy is already mired in a slowdown occasioned by the global coronavirus situation.
This was disclosed in a press statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity.
Buhari assures Nigerians that the situation is transient, and that his administration has already begun looking and putting in place measures to ameliorate the situation.
In his word, he stated that “While Providence has been kind to us with the rains and as such an expectation that a bumper harvest would lead to crashing of food prices and ease the burdens on the population, government’s concern is that the exploitative market behaviour by actors has significantly increased among traders in the past few years and may make any such relief a short lived one.
“This year has indeed tested us in ways that globalization has never been tested since the turn of the century. These challenges have disrupted lives and supply chains all over the world, and Nigeria has not been spared.
“The effect has been deeply felt in the delays encountered in procurement of raw materials for local production of fertilizer (damaging standing crops before harvest) and the speculative activities by a number of rice processors who are ready to pay for paddy at any price to keep their mills running non-stop.”
The president also noted that “it was discovered that the most worrisome of these problems we are presently encountering are the activities of “corrupt” middlemen (with many of them discovered to be foreigners) and other food traders who serve as the link between farmers and consumers found to be systematically creating an artificial scarcity so that they can sell at higher prices.
“In dealing with these problems, the administration has, in line with its ease of doing business mantra, avoided imposing stockholding restrictions, in order not to discourage investments in modern warehousing and cold storage.”