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FG Suspends Import Duty on Essential Foods, To Fight Price Gouging

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In a bid to combat soaring food prices and ensure food security across Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu has rolled out an ambitious set of measures aimed at bolstering food production, stabilizing prices, and enhancing nutrition security.

One of the key initiatives announced is a 150-day duty-free import window for essential food commodities.

This includes maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas, with imported items subject to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) to prevent price gouging.

President Tinubu emphasised that food safety would not be compromised despite the duty suspension.

In addition to private sector imports, the federal government plans to import 250,000 metric tons each of wheat and maize.

These semi-processed imports are targeted to supply small-scale processors and millers nationwide.

The administration aims to ramp up domestic food production significantly for the upcoming farming cycles.

This includes continued support for smallholder farmers in the ongoing wet season farming and intensified efforts in dry season farming.

The government plans to accelerate agricultural mechanization to reduce production costs and enhance productivity.

Collaborative efforts with sub-national entities will identify irrigable lands and expand cultivated areas, supported by the rehabilitation of irrigation facilities under river basin authorities.

The president said special attention would be given to engaging youth and women in greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops like tomatoes and pepper, aimed at increasing production volumes and stabilizing prices.

The administration also plans to set up a Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee to prioritize livestock development in alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

According to the statement, over the next 180 days, these measures will be implemented with transparency and accountability ensured through the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU).

The statement says, “The unit will provide real-time monitoring via a dashboard for President Tinubu, ensuring effective oversight and timely adjustments as needed.

“President Bola Tinubu reiterated the administration’s commitment to addressing food security challenges comprehensively, urging the participation of all stakeholders to ensure the success of these initiatives.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, in collaboration with relevant agencies, will finalize implementation frameworks in the coming days, signaling a concerted effort to alleviate food scarcity concerns nationwide.”

Highlights of the new initiatives

  • A 150-day Duty-Free Import Window for Food Commodities:

a. suspension of duties, tariffs and taxes for the importation of certain food commodities (through land and sea borders)

b. These commodities include Maize, Husked Brown Rice, Wheat and Cowpeas.

c. Imported food commodities will be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP).

  • Continuous ramp-up production for the 2024/2025 farming cycle:

a. sustained support to smallholder farmers in the ongoing wet season farming through existing government initiatives.

b. strengthen and accelerate Dry Season Farming across the country.

c. embark on aggressive agricultural mechanization and development to reduce drudgery, drive down the cost of production and boost productivity.

d. collaborate with Sub-National to identify irrigable lands and increase land under cultivation.

e. work closely with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, to rehabilitate and maintain irrigation facilities under river basin authorities across the federation.

f. development of a strategic engagement for youth and women across the federation for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops such as tomatoes and pepper to increase production volume, stabilize prices, and address food shortages.

g. Federal Government to fast-track ongoing engagements with the Nigerian Military to rapidly cultivate arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme while encouraging other Para-Military establishments to put secured available arable lands for cultivation.

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