We’ll open reserves to address food costs — FG

The Federal Government has said it would open its reserves to address the rising cost of food in the country.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, made the promise in Abuja on Wednesday.

Idris, who spoke after a meeting of the Special Presidential Committee in Emergency Food Intervention, which was at the instance of President Bola Tinubu, said the release of food from the National Food Reserves was part of the measures to crash food prices.

He said after the meeting, which was convened by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu: “We just rounded off a meeting. 

“It is a special presidential committee to address the issue of food shortage or lack of enough food on the table of most Nigerians.

“What I will tell Nigerians is that the President has directed that government needs to step in to stem this tide. 

“Government will not fold its arms and see the way Nigerians are suffering in terms of the availability of these food items.

“Now, some of these will involve unlocking the foods that are available in most of the storage facilities (National Food Reserve) around the country. 

“You know that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has some food reserves. 

“They are going to be made available to Nigerians.

“The government is also talking to major millers and major commodity traders to also see what is available in their stores. 

“To open it up, so the government will provide some intervention, discuss with them and provide some intervention to make this food available to Nigerians.

“What the government is noticing is that there is still food in this country. 

“Some people are taking advantage of the situation, especially because of the high cost and the depreciation in the value of our currency that has led to the cost of these food items also going up.

“All these issues were discussed.

“The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Olayemi Cardoso) was at the meeting. 

“The Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy (Wale Edun) was there and, of course, the Chief of Staff and the National Security Adviser were there. 

“The NSA was there because of some national security implications.

“All these have been discussed and like I said, this conversation or discussion is going to continue.

“This is just the beginning of that meeting. 

“It is going to continue tomorrow (today) and the day after tomorrow. 

“The government is very concerned about what Nigerians are going through, especially what happened in Minna yesterday. 

“Government is taking some action to ensure that Nigerians have some relief in terms of the availability of food on their tables. 

“Of course, this meeting is not by itself exhaustive. 

“It’s just like I said, the beginning.

“I want to plead with you to understand with the government. 

“By the time these meetings are concluded, we’ll be able to issue a definite statement on what the position of government is in this regard. 

“But all I can say is that discussions are ongoing, and very soon a solution will be in sight.”

Asked if there were any immediate actions, Idris said: “Some of them are dependent on the follow-up meeting on this hardship. 

“The government is stepping in a big way to ensure that Nigerians have succour.”

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