The federal government has taken bold steps to address the rising cost of food prices across the country as it plans to convene a meeting of the National Food Security Council shortly.
It has also lined up concrete actions to ensure the growth of some sectors of the nation’s economy that have refused to grow in recent times.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who made these known to newsmen Wednesday after the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja, disclosed that FEC gave approval for the National Food Security Council to meet “very quickly to address the issue of food inflation, and also provide a plan and some methods in which we can reduce the cost of food to support improved food prices for the citizenry”.
She further said Council was briefed about the rising inflation rate and the need to manage the cost of inflation in the country.
Ahmed added that FEC considered a report from the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the first quarter of 2022 GDP report which shows that the Nigerian economy has grown by 3.1% in the first quarter of 2022 as against a growth of 0.5% in the first quarter of last year.
Her words: “This growth shows a gradual economic stability from the recession that we witnessed in 2020. And also it shows the six quarter of positive growth that the Nigerian economy has presented.
“So of the 46 economic activities, the bulk sector performance shows that services sector grew strongly by 4.7%, agriculture also grew by 3.61%. Industry on the other hand contracted by minus 6.81% and there’s also a significant contraction in the crude oil, petroleum and natural gas sector of 26.04%.
“Coal mining sector also declined. Oil refinery, the biggest contraction of 44.26%, electricity sector, textile outcome. Therefore, even though there has been growth in some sectors, there are significant contraction than others but the net effect is positive growth.
“We’re very mindful of the fact that unless we have most of the sectors growing especially the growth in the jobs impacted sectors, that this growth that is positive will not be directly felt by the people.”
According to her, “We also reported to Council that inflation has started going upward to the extent that the monetary authorities of the Central Bank have had to adjust the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 13% at the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting and that’s an attempt to manage the cost of inflation.
“So, Council has decided to set up a special effort to look at the sectors that are not growing and also to look at how we can grow the other sectors better.”
The Council also okayed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purchase of 82 Toyota brand of vehicles, branded raincoats and sundry other accoutrements for the use of the Nigerian Police at the total cost of N8,315,209,825.
This came following the approval for the Nigerian Police Trust Fund to award contracts for the supply of sundry accoutrements for the efficient operation of the police.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, who disclosed this while also briefing newsmen after the FEC meeting, said the approval included the supply of customized raincoat for distribution to police formations across the country at the cost of N1.9 billion.
Dingyadi, who said the memo which received the nod of the cabinet, included customized police boots at the cost of N576 million.
He said: “We also got approval for the supply of micro first aid kits for the police at the cost of N1 billion as well as customized instructional materials for the police colleges and schools at the cost of N664 million. There is also the supply of drugs and medical equipment for police hospitals across the country at the cost of N2 billion. When you add all these projects, they will come up to 8,315,209,825 billion.”
The minister said the NPTL was set up as a special intervention fund to facilitate the improvement of the operations of Nigerian police force in the areas of equipment, training and welfare, adding, “What we’re having now have been assembled from the output of the end user, that is the Nigeria Police Force.
He noted that: “By the time these items are on ground, they will go a long way in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria police in the maintenance of peace and security in the country.”
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