By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
President Muhammadu Buhari has received accolades for his recent pronouncement on importation of food items and fertilizers.
The Federal Government has for years now placed a ban on importation of food items as a way of boosting local production.
DAILY POST reports that Buhari had, in a renewal of that directive, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, not to release a kobo from the country’s foreign reserve for food and fertilizer importation.
As the country continues a push for self sustenance and economic revival, the President believes that local production remains key.
He also advised that the fertilizer production and supply chain should be monitored by the State government governments to ensure that it got to the farmers at minimal cost.
Reacting, the President of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) Mr. Thomas Etuh commended Buhari for taking the bold initiative.
Etuh disclosed that the President’s action had encouraged local producers, and created employment opportunities.
Etuh said President Buhari has demonstrated uncommon commitment to the development of the agricultural sector in the country, and urged Nigerians to support the efforts towards making the country self-sufficient in food production.
According to him, “FEPSAN is grateful to the President for his uncommon commitment to Agriculture in general and the fertilizer industry in particular.
“His efforts towards growing capacity in this most critical sector of the Nigerian economy has continued to yield tremendous dividends, especially since the launching of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative in December 2016.”
“Today 35 fertilizer plants are operating at full capacity across the country, employing hundreds of thousands of people directly and indirectly and supporting farmers with high quality fertilizer inputs,” he said.
He added that the billions of naira that have been invested in the agricultural sector by Nigerians and other foreign investors bear strong testaments to the confidence the Private sector reposes on the capacity of President Buhari to steer Nigeria to enhanced local agricultural development, employment generation and food security.
He said the decision meant that President Buhari understands the importance of local capacity building in the overall economic development of the country.
“Against the possibilities of pressures from briefcase investors to pen up the country for the importation of all manner of food items and agro inputs, we at FEPSAN appreciate his unwavering commitment towards amplifying the gains so far recorded in banning the importation of fertilizer and other food items.
“He knows the importance of foreign exchange conservation and prioritization of local capacity building in the redistribution of income and we will continue to work with the Federal Government to ensure that the immense opportunities in the country’s agricultural sector are fully exploited for the good of the national economy,’ Mr. Etuh stated.
He also thanked the CBN for the professional way it has managed the anchor borrowers programme, saying it has helped in re-energising the agricultural sector and empowered farmers to multiply productivity.