Govt spent N1.85tr on food import during border closure – Buhari’s adviser

Despite the closure of the country’s borders for 15 months, Nigeria spent N1.85 trillion to import food due to food insecurity in the country, Checkout Magazine learnt.

This was made known by Dr. Doyin Salami, Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (ECA), who noted that it signalled the nation’s lack of capacity to feed itself.

He spoke during the National Economic Outlook for 2021 organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Salami, an ex-member of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) said: “Despite border closure, our national import of food amounted to N1.85 trillion between January and Sept 2020 – a 62 per cent increase when compared to same period 2019. This suggests a weakness in our ability to feed ourselves and raises the need to consider review of intervention policies in agriculture.”

He said agriculture continues to decelerate, growing at 1.7 per cent year-to-date while consumer-sensitive sectors like manufacturing and distribution continue to contract, in double digits.

According to him, serious climatic concerns are undermining agricultural output with 2.5 million farmers being impacted by flooding in 2019.

Nigerians’ spending on food rose significantly in 2019, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

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