President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country.
He disclosed this on Tuesday when he hosted the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to Eid-el-Kabir lunch at his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
The President explained that the directive was important considering the “steady improvement” in agricultural production and attainment of “full food security” in Nigeria.
He, however, noted that the foreign reserve would be conserved and utilised strictly for diversification of the economy, and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food import bills.
“Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
He added, “We have achieved food security, and for physical security, we are not doing badly.”
The President said some states like Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano had already taken advantage of the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture with huge returns in rice farming.
He, therefore, urged more states to plug into the ongoing revolution to feed the nation.
President Buhari said he was particularly delighted that young Nigerians, including graduates, had started exploring agric-business and entrepreneurship, with many posting testimonies of good returns on their investments.
He told his guests that the incoming ministers would be “taught” and thoroughly guided to ensure they meet the targets of the APC-led government for the people.
The President added that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) would monitor the performances and scale-up targets of the prospective cabinet members.
He gave assurance that he would attend the Presidential Policy Retreat organised for the ministers by the OSFG, while insisting on compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that would directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, said the President’s sense of justice, fairness and forthrightness had turned a major inspiration to governors on the way forward for the country.
He noted that the challenges faced by states “were enormous”, but the governors had remained undaunted, assuring the President of strong support and “the very best effort” to overcome all the obstacles.
The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, also appreciated the President for the unique leadership style of maintaining a healthy relationship with governors on individual and collective basis, pointing out that they had been “energised” to do more in their states.
The governor commended the President for making bold and courageous efforts to reposition the economy for majority Nigerians through inclusive policies.
“The country is more secure than in 2015, and the country is more prosperous than in 2015 because you are working for the majority of the people,” he added.
The governor said the party had been repositioned, after the 2019 elections, to work for the benefit of many Nigerians.
“There will be two elections this year and we need to work towards winning the two states,” he said.