Buhari deliberates with Govs over hike in food prices, blames corrupt middlemen

Buhari deliberates with Govs over hike in food prices, blames corrupt middlemen

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, September 10, presided over the meeting of the National Food Security Council with six State Governors; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and some ministers in attendance.

1st News garnered that others at the meeting include the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi.

President Buhari had on September 2 via a statement by one of his spokesmen, Garba Shehu; expressed the concern of his administration about the sudden spiral of food prices.

The president assured Nigerians that the situation is transient; saying his administration has already begun looking and also putting in place measures to ameliorate the situation.

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He said: “While Providence has been kind to us with the rains and as such an expectation that a bumper harvest would lead to crashing of food prices; as well as ease the burdens on the population; government’s concern is that the exploitative market behaviour by actors has significantly increased among traders in the past few years and may also make any such relief a short-lived one.

“This year has indeed tested us in ways that globalization has never been tested since the turn of the century.

“These challenges have disrupted lives and supply chains all over the world; and Nigeria, likewise, has not been spared.’’

Buhari also frowned at the activities of those he described as “corrupt middlemen;’’ whom he said had further compounded the situation.

“But of all these problems, the most worrisome are the activities of “corrupt” middlemen (with many of them discovered to be foreigners); and other food traders who serve as the link between farmers; and consumers found to be systematically creating an artificial scarcity so that they can sell at higher prices.

“In dealing with these problems; the administration has, in line with its ease of doing business mantra; avoided imposing stockholding restrictions; in order not to discourage investments in modern warehousing and cold storage.’’

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