President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the National Security Adviser, retired Brigadier General Babagana Monguno and other security agencies to allow and protect the movement of all agricultural goods in the country.
The presidential directive is in fulfillment of government’s promise to ensure even distribution of fertilizers and other agricultural implements to local farmers across the country.
Speaking at meeting with the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) at the presidential villa in Abuja, president Buhari enjoins the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) concentrate on issues relating to end-user certification.
“I am impressed by the commitment of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to this project. You moved away from your comfort zone and pushed your capital into the rural economy. I always talk about the endless opportunities in the rural economy if only people would look with an open mind. I will urge you to continue on this track. Unless we create an inclusive and diversified economy, the progress of our country and its future generations will always be held hostage by external factors such as global oil prices.”
Buhari also wants the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) to ensure that quality and affordable fertilizer is available to farmers at the right time
“Unlike in previous governments where trucks conveying fertilizer would miraculously disappear in transit, in 2017, none of the three thousand, three hundred and thirty-three (3,333) trucks that participated in this program went missing. I want to assure all participants of the PFI that, we will continue to provide adequate security so that this program, and its positive impact on Nigeria, is sustained.” Buhari says
Chairman of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative and Jigawa State governor, Mohammadu Abubakar, however, assures the president of the committee’s resolve to improve their production capacity, which soared to a million tonnes this 2018
“The expectation is that we intend to do one million tonnes this year as against the five hundred thousand that we did last year. We are specifically bringing eleven more blending plants to make a total of twenty-three blending plants that will participate in this year’s fertilizer production”
President Buhari has also directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to conclude the planning for all Government programmes for the 2018 season to ensure synergy while encouraging the Central Bank of Nigeria to work with commercial banks to ensure affordable capital to the farmers and agro-dealers
” The rains are upon us. Farmers in the southern part of the country will be planting soon. We must all do our bit to ensure fertilizer is readily available. Therefore, the Ministry of Finance and NSIA should immediately engage the Governors Forum to conclude their orders. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should conclude the planning for all government programs for the 2018 season to ensure synergy. The CBN, working with the commercial banks, should ensure affordable capital is available to the farmers and agro-dealers.”
Meanwhile, agro-commodities traders continue to petition against the non-adherence of the implementation and abolition of multiple tax collection and levies on the highways.
Movement of agricultural produce and goods in the country are hampered as a result of exorbitant and illegal taxation from states and local governments.
In 2017, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, had inaugurated an Inter-Agency Committee to enforce the ban on collection of levies and taxes on agricultural produce on highways saying the act has its impact on the increase in the prices of food.
According to the Ogbeh, the certificate of clearance issued by one state should be accepted at all produce inspection post throughout the country without an additional levy till the point of destination.
Members of the committee were drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Customs Service, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps.