FG Suspends Import Duties on Food to Combat Inflation

The federal government has announced a suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes on imported food commodities.
Abubakar Kyari, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, made the announcement on Monday, stating that the suspension covers maize, husked brown rice, wheat, and cowpeas imported through land and sea borders.
Kyari explained that a 150-day duty-free import window for these food commodities will be implemented as part of a broader strategy to address food inflation over the next 180 days. This initiative is part of the accelerated stabilization and advancement plan recently presented to President Bola Tinubu by the Economic Management Team (EMT) under the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC), established in March.
The minister highlighted that multiple taxes, infrastructural challenges, and profiteering by marketers and traders have significantly contributed to the rising food prices.
“Over the past several months, we have all been witnesses to the escalating cost of food items in all parts of the country. There is virtually no food item that has not had its price raised to a level higher than what a good many Nigerians can afford,” Kyari stated. “The affordability crisis in our food security system has been indexed by the data from the National Bureau of Statistics which by the last count, had put food inflation at 40.66%.”
Kyari acknowledged the public’s frustration with soaring food prices, noting that common items such as yam, plantain, and potatoes now command excessively high prices.
“We have heard the cries of Nigeria over the prices of food items and condiments, with some now describing tomato as gold and proposing a variety of recipes to prepare soups and dishes with some of the overly priced food items,” he said.
To ensure affordability, imported food commodities will be subjected to a recommended retail price (RRP). Kyari reassured citizens about the quality of imported food, emphasizing that the government will uphold safety standards.
In addition to private sector imports, the government will import 250,000 metric tonnes of wheat and maize, targeting supplies to small-scale processors and millers in the country. The government will collaborate with relevant stakeholders to set a guaranteed minimum price (GMP) and purchase surplus food commodities to restock the national strategic food reserve.
Kyari also announced the inauguration of the Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee on July 9, 2024. This committee will develop and implement policies prioritizing livestock development and align with the National Livestock Transformation Plan.
Further, the government will promote the production of fortified food commodities and support the Home Garden Initiative by the Office of The First Lady of Nigeria. Over the next 14 days, the government will work with the Presidential Food Systems Coordinating Unit (PFSCU) and the EMT to finalize implementation frameworks, ensuring transparency and stakeholder participation. The PFSCU will manage a dashboard for the President, providing direct visibility into these interventions and ensuring accountability.
Kyari assured Nigerians that the government is committed to diligently implementing these policies to secure food for all citizens.
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