Senate urges FG to urgently tackle impending food insecurity

The Senate has urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, initiate measures to tackle the impending food insecurity in the country.

It also urged the government to outline the measures implemented to combat the situation and to address Nigerians concerns regarding it.

The Senate’s resolution followed adoption of a motion on the urgent need to address food insecurity and market exploitation of consumables in Nigeria at plenary.

The motion was sponsored by Sen. Sunday Karimi (APC-Kogi) and Sen. Ali Ndume (APC-Borno).

Leading the debate, Karimi said that in the last few months, the price of goods and household consumables in Nigeria had been at an all-time high. 

This, he said, was leading to a high rate of inflation, weakening purchasing power, and affecting the living conditions of vast majority of Nigerians.

He said the latest data by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that food inflation in the country skyrocketed to 40.66 per cent on a year-on-year basis, representing a significant increase from the 24.82 per cent recorded in May 2023. 

Karimi said the current market price of food items such as beans, maize, rice paddy, yam, tomatoes, and onions, which initially rose by about 40 per cent after removal of petroleum subsidy had increased to between 100 per cent and 300 per cent with no attributable reason for the increase in prices.

He said insecurity in food-producing regions, bad roads, increase in cost of transportation, and depreciation of the value of the naira had been identified as possible factors contributing to increase in price of food items and other consumables.

He, however, said that greater percentage of the increase in prices of food items and consumables were not only responsible for the factors but rather the greed of merchants, traders, and retailers to make supernormal profits.

He expressed worry that efforts made by the government to arrest consistent increase in food inflation was yet to yield the desired results.

Karimi said there was a need to be more pragmatic about addressing food insecurity, curb herder-farmer crises, kidnapping for ransom, and terrorism.

This, he said, will ensure development of a viable national commodity board to regulate price of grains.

He said efforts should be made to ensure elimination of artificial contributions to food and commodity inflation in Nigeria.

Sen.Ali Ndume (APC–Borno), who seconded the motion said recent reports indicated that Nigeria might face food insecurity, adding that people were hungry as many farmers no longer had access to their farms because of insecurity.

He said the lawmakers needed to take urgent steps as representatives of the people as prices of food were on the high side.

In his contribution, Sen. Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe) lamented that Nigerians now struggle to have just a meal a day.

According to him, the silos are empty, meaning that the federal government would have to make frantic efforts to import food.

He said the national assembly must engage the executive to take immediate steps to avert the looming food insecurity.

Sen. Ahmed Wadada (SDP-Nasarawa), however, commended the federal government for the recent decision to relax import duties and taxes on food items to be imported into the country.


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