Recession Exit: FG Working Hard To Crash Food Prices

The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said
that the federal government is working hard to crash food prices in
the country, warning against politicisation of the country’s recent
emergence from recession.

The minister, who stated this when he received the Broadcast Media
Editors on a courtesy visit in Abuja yesterday, said politicising the
nation’s triumph over recession is a disservice to the people of
Nigeria.

He said that the federal government acknowledged that food prices are
still high, but it is being addressed with appropriate monetary,
fiscal and trade policies as stated in the Economic Recovery (2016)
and the Growth Plan (ERGP).

Alhaji Mohammed noted that others are wondering why getting out of
recession has not led to an immediate reduction in food prices, as if
they don’t realise that an economy that is just coming out of
recession is like a man who is just recovering from an illness.

“It takes a little bit of time for him to start doing the ‘big’ things
he used to do prior to falling sick. He has to fully recover!

“To naysayers, I will say: This issue should not be politicised. An
issue that affects the welfare of our citizens should not be toyed
with. Let us all appreciate what this Administration has done in
returning our economy to the path of positive growth and then support
and encourage it to do more.

”Trying to downplay what has been achieved is bad politics. I know
this good news of our emergence from recession has hit the naysayers
very hard. But they should recover quickly and embrace the good news.
Sorry, but it can neither be denied nor wished away,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said some critics even claimed that getting out of
recession is mere statistics and does not mean anything, even though
it is the same statistics that was used to say that Nigeria had
slipped into recession in Q2 2016.

He said now that Nigeria has emerged from recession, the
Administration will sustain and build on what it did to get the
economy out of recession through sustained policy interventions in
various sectors.

The minister listed such measures as including the continued
stimulation of local production of staples (e.g. rice), using
initiatives like the Anchor’s borrowers programme and the Presidential
Initiative on Fertilizers; continuous improvement of the business
environment via PEBEC to attract investors; positive engagement in the
Niger Delta that has resulted in improved oil production and ensuring
stability in the Foreign Exchange Market.

He said the government would also continue the efforts to ensure that
inflation rate, which has come down from 18% to 16%, is further
brought down; continue to build-up of the foreign reserves, which has
hit a 30-month high of $31.8 billion as at July 2017 and ensure the
sustenance of the Social Intervention Programme such as N-power, which
has created 200,000 jobs and is set to create 300,000 more this year;
the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme that provides one
meal a day to 3,065,000 pupils in 14 states and the Conditional Cash
Transfer from which 30,000 households have benefitted from the N,5000
monthly stipend.

Alhaji Mohammed also gave the assurance that government will continue
to improve on power generation, which has increased from 2,690MW to
over 6,000MW .

Earlier, the Convener of the Broadcast Media Editors, Mr. Tijjani
Yunusa, pledged the partnership of the group with the Federal
Government in its effort to develop the country.

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