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IT’S OFFICIAL: FG suspends taxes on importation of food commodities

Economic hardship: FG to distribute 42,000MT of food items this week Economic hardship: FG to distribute 42,000MT of food items this week

The federal government has officially announced the suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes on the importation of food commodities.

Abubakar Kyari, minister of agriculture and food security, announced the development in a post on social media on Wednesday, detailing the federal government’s measures to address the high food prices currently affecting the nation.

Part of the measures, according to the statement, is a 150-day duty-free import window for food commodities, which involves the suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes for the importation of food commodities — maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas — through land and sea borders.

The minister said the measures will be implemented over the next 180 days.

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“Imported food commodities will be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP),” Kyari said.

“We understand concerns about the quality of these imports, especially regarding their genetic composition. The government assures that all standards will be maintained to ensure the safety and quality of food items for consumption.

“Over the next 14 days, in close collaboration with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) and the Economic Management Team (EMT), we will convene with respective agencies to finalize the implementation frameworks.

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“We will ensure that information is publicly available to facilitate the participation of all relevant stakeholders across the country.”

OTHER INTERVENTION PLANS

Outlining other intervention plans, Kyari said the federal government will import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and 250,000 metric tons of maize, noting that these semi-processed commodities will be supplied to small-scale processors and millers across the country.

The government will engage with relevant stakeholders to set a “GMP and purchase surplus food commodities to restock the National Strategic Food Reserve”.

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He said there will also be a production ramp-up for the 2024/2025 farming cycle, which would include continued support to smallholder farmers during the ongoing wet season farming through existing government initiatives; strengthening and accelerating dry season farming nationwide; embarking on aggressive agricultural mechanisation to reduce drudgery, lower production costs, and boost productivity.

“Collaborating with sub-national entities to identify irrigable lands and increase land under cultivation,” he said.

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

“Developing strategic engagement for youth and women for immediate greenhouse cultivation of horticultural crops such as tomatoes and pepper to increase production volume, stabilize prices, and address food shortages.

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“Fast-tracking ongoing engagements with the Nigerian Military to rapidly cultivate arable lands under the Defence Farms Scheme and encouraging other para-military establishments to utilize available arable lands for cultivation.

“Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee

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“This committee has been inaugurated on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, to develop and implement policies prioritizing livestock development in alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan, and a ministry of Livestock Development has been created.

“Enhancement of Nutrition Security, Promoting the production of fortified food commodities, Supporting the scale-up of the Home Garden Initiative by the Office of the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Kyari said the success of the measures hinges on the cooperation and collaboration of all relevant ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) and other stakeholders.

The minister reiterated President Bola Tinubu’s “unwavering commitment” to achieving food security and “ensuring that no Nigerian goes to bed hungry”.

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Kyari said he would work swiftly and diligently with his team to actualise “these crucial policies”, ensuring food security for everyone in the immediate term, “while continuing our strategies for long-term interventions to address underlying causes and ensure sustainable and resilient food systems in Nigeria”.

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