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BREAKING: FG officially announces suspension of import duties, tax on key food items

In a bold move to tackle the rising food prices affecting Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced a series of strategic measures set to be implemented over the next 180 days.

The comprehensive plan, aimed at ensuring food security and stabilizing the economy, was detailed in a statement issued on social media by Abubakar Kyari, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security.

The same statement was also shared earlier in the week by President Bola Tinubu’s media aide, Bayo Onanuga, but was later deleted.

Kyari’s announcement outlined several key initiatives:

150-Day Duty-Free Import Window for Food Commodities:
The government will suspend duties, tariffs, and taxes on the importation of critical food commodities such as maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas through both land and sea borders for 150 days. These imported commodities will be subject to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) to ensure affordability.

“We understand concerns about the quality of these imports, especially regarding their genetic composition. The government assures that all standards will be maintained to ensure the safety and quality of food items for consumption,” Kyari emphasized.

Importation of Essential Commodities:
To support small-scale processors and millers, the Federal Government will import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and 250,000 metric tons of maize. These semi-processed commodities will be distributed across the country to boost local production.

Strategic Food Reserve and Stakeholder Engagement:
The government plans to engage with relevant stakeholders to set a Guaranteed Minimum Price (GMP) and purchase surplus food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve.

Ramp-Up of Production for the 2024/2025 Farming Cycle:

  • Continued support for smallholder farmers during the ongoing wet season farming through existing initiatives.
  • Strengthening and accelerating dry season farming nationwide.
  • Aggressive agricultural mechanization to reduce drudgery, lower production costs, and boost productivity.
  • Collaborating with sub-national entities to identify irrigable lands and increase land under cultivation.
  • Working closely with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to rehabilitate and maintain irrigation facilities under river basin authorities.
  • Developing strategic engagement for youth and women for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops such as tomatoes and pepper to stabilize prices and address food shortages.
  • Fast-tracking engagements with the Nigerian Military to rapidly cultivate arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme and encouraging other para-military establishments to utilize available arable lands for cultivation.

Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation: Implementation Committee
Inaugurated on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, this committee will develop and implement policies prioritizing livestock development in alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan. Additionally, a Ministry of Livestock Development has been created.

Enhancement of Nutrition Security:

  • Promoting the production of fortified food commodities.
  • Supporting the scale-up of the Home Garden Initiative by the Office of the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Kyari assured that over the next 14 days, in collaboration with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) and the Economic Management Team (EMT), the government will convene with respective agencies to finalize implementation frameworks.

“We will ensure that information is publicly available to facilitate the participation of all relevant stakeholders across the country,” Kyari stated.

He emphasized the importance of cooperation and collaboration among all relevant MDAs and stakeholders.

“As our nation confronts this critical food security challenge, I reiterate President Tinubu’s unwavering commitment to achieving food security and ensuring that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry,” Kyari declared.

“My team and I will work swiftly and diligently to actualize these crucial policies, ensuring food security for everyone in the immediate term while continuing our strategies for long-term interventions to address underlying causes and ensure sustainable and resilient food systems in Nigeria.”

This comprehensive strategy aims to provide immediate relief from high food prices while laying the groundwork for a more secure and resilient food system in Nigeria.

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