Nigeria sets up task force to check rising food costs

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government of Nigeria has set up a task force on food security to curb rising cost of food items.

This was revealed by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday while briefing journalists at the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council.

“Government is quite concerned about the rising cost of food items and the fact that more often than not, even when these products are available and do not reach the market, they are sold at very exorbitant prices.

“So, the government has set up a task force on food security to ensure that an end is put to the wastages that occur and with tons and tons of produce sitting down in the farms rotting or in the markets getting rotten,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed said the task force is an inter-ministerial committee made up of the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance, Water Resources and Transportation.

“The important thing is to look at what areas of intervention can the government make.

“The intervention can be in the area of subsidy in transportation, that is being worked out but this goes to show that government is very much concerned with the rising cost of food prices and we are responding to it,” he said.

The minister said the committee is expected to report back to FEC next week after which “concrete actions would be taken”.

“Clearly government is concerned and is trying to do something to bring it down,” he said.


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  • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

    Good concept. Its about time the government stepped in and end this crime to humanity perpetrated by market people. a big score for this administration. well done..

    • grand maze

      This measure has simply exposed the cluelessness emptiness and frustration of this administration. Buhari is only bringing back 1984 and is poised for failure as usual. Fixing of prices by government fiat does not work. The government must correct issues through policies that help market forces to align the desired prices.

      • Powerlessconscious

        Give a practical approach. And stop ambiguous statement. I actually want to know if you can provided solution in this aspect.

        • grand maze

          The government should first identify quantum of food items needed by the populace. It will then allow the sourcing of supply to meet the demand. The volume of supply sourced will be used by government to determine the price. If local supply is insufficient, it could augment with imports in the interim while trying to implement policies that will boost local production. If local production is sub optimal, it can protect local production by fixing the required level of taxes on imported substitutes. The level of taxes imposed will be determined again by a mix of government desired market price, the cost of production of local equivalents, need to curb inflation and citizens welfare approach among other factors. As local production increases, imports is removed while watching the effect on prices. Even a kindergarten knows that prices are determined by the interplay between demand and supply. An attempt to fix prices by fiat only creates artificial scarcity or hoarding which in turn drives prices even higher. Buhari is pathetic. He is yet to come to terms that his 1983 policies were a failure. He still feels that somehow the policies would have succeeded if not for the coup. Imagine in a 21st century when all economies of the world are practicing “free market economy”, this brick brain is taking us back to a Robinson Crusoe economy. Security operatives that would be better employed to provide security to citizens in this highly lawless country will now be engaged in a highly unsustainable waste of energy by the government. The problem with this government is that it is incompetent, confused and living in denial while at the same time refusing expert advice. A man who does not know, and does not know that he does not know is what………you can complete the sentence.

          • Powerlessconscious

            You don’t need to write as an agitator. I did not ask you to insult our president. Had he been given the kind of power he had during the military, the progress would have been speedy. But existence of NASS is shit to any country that want a fast implementation of good policies and a faster development as well.
            According to your writeup, the government have actually identified popularly consumed food. Sorry your following solutions might not work in Nigeria because you did not do ANY RISK ASSESSEMENT. You present it like Nigeria is a normal country. Nigeria is not a normal country pleased. A country without database of anything is not a normal country.
            However I have a solution that will work out fine.

          • grand maze

            Sorry. No insult intended although I wrote out of passion, however it would be interesting to hear your solution.

          • Powerlessconscious

            This is my opinion which is also the solution I feel might work and in the long term, we may be equalised to developed countries.Firstly we have to agree that nigerian government does not have a single control on Nigeria food market. In fact, the history has been that the higher forces of demand, the higher the price of QUALITY FOOD PRODUCTS. The lesser the demand, the price may be lower. That has been the common trend in Nigerian food market. What I wrote above does not have influence of dollar. It is a common trend. Especially when any festive period is coming, the food marketers increases the prices of their food stuff. They will tell you, it is festive period that hiked the price. But do you know the funny thing, after the festive period, they may still not revert the price to the old one. But in most developed countries food become cheaper when festive period is knocking. I have lived in the UK and Australia.
            Infact, not only food, a lot of things becomes cheaper.
            The trend has been that from 1999 till date, Nigeria food price continue to increase while, the purchasing power continue to decrease. And Nigerians are adapting year by year. Though, all over the world, prices increase over years but most developed countries also increase their purchasing power by increasing the minimum wage WHICH IS EASY FOR THEM BECAUSE THEY HAVE A CLEAN DATA BASE to check the effect of any policy they have implemented. Also, free market of raw food is not practice in developed countries. Govt DOES NOT FIX THE PRICE but there is a very Good range within which your price can flunctuate. The maximum price of the range is enough for all marketers to make a VERY GOOD PROFIT on their market. So govt allow the marketers to compete within the range. And govt knows that you can not sell below the minimum of the range because you will loose profit compare to your tax to government. The clean database of the prices from farm to the retailers who sells to the final consumers allow govt of the developed nations to monitor prices of most food in the market.
            NOW, THE QUESTION ARE, in Nigeria, what is our challenges? Is it FOOD SCARCITY or WEAK PURCHASING POWER? Does govt need to work towards REDUCING the PRICES of FOOD STUFF or work towards INCREASING the PURCHASING POWER/ABILITY of NIGERIANS? From the first question, We CAN NOT SAY there is FOOD SCARCITY in Nigeria, but we can say there is WEAK PURCHASING POWER due to poor cash flow coupled with bad salary SCALE. Now, from the second question, govt can work towards REDUCING the PRICES of Food stuff while also INCREASING the PURCHASING POWER of Nigerians.
            THIS IS THE SOLUTION BELOW which is only my own opinion..

            TO REDUCE the food price and project Nigeria market in the long run to be equivalent to the developed nations. The following steps can be adopted sequentially..
            1). Govt should make sacrifice to either DIRECTLY take over the food market or bring in some COMPANIES as a front to take over the food market. This will allow all govt as a retailer to either SUBSIDISED or REGULATE the food price when selling to final consumers.
            2) To AVOID JOB LOSS, our food market MEN and WOMEN whose shops were taken over at a particular market, should be registered to regularly supply food to whoever (Govt or a Fronted Company) took over the market. So they will still be part of the chain.

            The above steps was CAREFUL advised due to lack of control in Nigeria food market and IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE to ACHIEVE IT. Mind you, all the developed nations have companies they use to front their food market. Their market outlook is not like that of Nigeria.

            With the above two steps, govt can control the price of food stuff while the market women will have confident of making their money when they are supplying food to the entity representing the retailer.
            WARNING: It is NORMAL that govt LOOSE monetry for a while until things becomes normal. It is part of sacrifice for economy stability.

            NOW, TO INCREASE PURCHASING POWER…..
            1).Govt must increase minimum wage to a very good standard.
            2). There is urgent need to re-register and renew registration of most employing organisations in Nigeria. So that govt can easily monitor the them to pay good wages to their employee as many employer loves paying bad wages.
            3) There is need for low scale businesses to have access to lone.
            4)Overall all businesses must be registered whether low scale or high scale. This will enable government to get all taxes.

            I think of the above steps of solutions are taking. It will solve a lot of problems in Nigeria if not all.

            That is my opinion.

      • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

        Policy that would fix prices to through real-time production cost and availability data. you know our people just fix any price on items and somehow they all plan the price fixing.

  • share Idea

    1983 era repeating itself. From War against indiscipline then to price control of food commodity, and eventually to trade by barter. From fight against corruption to task force to check rising food cost, when the same government claimed that Nigeria will be rice sufficient in 2017

    • ukoette ibekwe

      360° to 1983. What a society of scoundrels and empty heads in government.

  • smart G

    CLUELESS is the same word Lai used for the past government .
    It seems the present is super clueless and naive too.

  • smart G

    Fix good price on electricity, reduce the cost of transporting commodities, eliminate the harassment of revenue touts, reduce cost of shops, provide affordable healthcare and tuition….the market women will surely reduce the cost of their commodities

  • Kayode crown

    The same FEC increases VAT to be imposed on the investors, who will suffer for this also? is it not the consumer…..who is deceiving who in Nigeria

  • benedict chindi

    The complete return of the unholy trinity of the disastrous economic policies of 1984: first “exchange controls” (see CBN FX policy), “import licensing” (in practice since mid 2016) and now the last of them, the “price control board”. Each subsequent policy promulgated to solve problems caused by the previous; talk about self inflicted wounds.

    Its like living in a banana republic. Mind boggling.