The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari led administration has taken notable efforts to ensure zero hunger for Nigerians but the efforts have not been felt as food scarcity has been looming in recent times.
The group noted that despite the budgetary allocations and huge sums of money disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, a huge gap remains in meeting the food requirements, which has resulted in increasing hunger among the Nigerian populace.
The NESG, however, noted that the issues are beyond money and therefore, require a complete overhaul of the management of, and support for the Agriculture sector and all related sectors – with a view to getting more value for our investments.
Stressing how insecurity has contributed to increasing in the sale of food items, the NESG explained that the high level of insecurity across the country has had negative impacts on the business environment and investment flows, which has contributed massively to the current food crisis, unemployment, poverty, increasing community clashes, rising bloodshed and the absence of peace and tranquility in the land.
The NESG also urged the Federal Government to expedite actions at re-opening the closed borders given its negative impact on trade and employment. It must be noted that our work in ECOWAS should not be limited to security and diplomacy, but must also effectively harness trade opportunities within the sub-region.
The group also called on the government to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), so that they can move to full membership status and take their rightful place in subsequent negotiation rounds.
The NESG commends the government’s actions at deregulating fuel and electricity prices but urged that proper policies, processes, and procedures be put in place, to ensure that all the reforms (beyond price deregulation) necessary to facilitate the smooth functioning of both the fuel and electricity markets are effectively and conclusively implemented.
They noted that “adequate communication to stakeholders and the general public on the benefits derivable from these actions must also be regularly carried out.”