Nigeria’s presidency has made it clear that at no time President Muhammadu Buhari banned the importation of agricultural products and food items into the country.
Responding to a feature write up in Financial Times of London titled: “Muhammadu Buhari sparks dismay over policy shift on food imports,” the Presidency described the position of the newspaper as “simply incorrect. To be absolutely clear, there is no ban – or restriction – on the importation of food items whatsoever.”
A statement by the senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu said: “President Buhari has consistently worked towards strengthening Nigeria’s own industrial and agricultural base.
“A recent decision sees the Central Bank maintain its reserves to put to use helping growth of domestic industry in 41 product sectors rather than provide FOREX for the import of those products from overseas.
“Should importers of these items wish to source their FOREX from non-government financial institutions (and pay customs duty on those imports – increasing tax-take, something the FT has berated Nigeria for not achieving on many occasions) they are freely able to do so.
“Diversification of FOREX provision towards the private sector and away from top-heavy government control, a diversification of Nigeria’s industrial base, and an increase in tax receipts – are all policies one might expect the Financial Times to support. Yet for reasons not quite clear, the author and this newspaper seem to believe the president’s administration seeks to control everything – and yet do so via policies that relinquish government control.
“We look forward to the next instalment of Mr. Munshi’s bizarre and puzzling article series.”