Insecurity: PDP Knocks Buhari Over Insensitive Comments

The Presidency on Sunday said the Financial Times report to the effect that Nigeria has placed restrictions on importation of agricultural products into the country was untrue.

The Presidency insisted there was no ban or restriction placed on the importation of agricultural products into the country as the report implied.

The article with the headline; ”Muhammadu Buhari sparks dismay over policy on food imports”, which was published on Aug. 15, held that the Buhari administration had placed embargo or restrictions on food imports.

However, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a letter addressed to the Editor of the Financial Times, made available to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, dismissed the the article as incorrect.

The statement read in part: “Sir – Your article “Muhammadu Buhari sparks dismay over policy shift on food imports” (Aug. 15) suggests the Nigerian Government is restricting the import of agricultural products into the country. This is simply incorrect.

“To be absolutely clear, there is no ban or restriction on the importation of food items whatsoever.

“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 installment of M. Munshi’s bizarre and puzzling article series.”