Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government and governors, yesterday, blamed EndSARS protest which stalled food transportation, banditry in the North West and COVID-19 pandemic for hike in food prices across the country.
They pointed out that the protest not only stalled delivery but in some instances destroyed food stores while banditry in the North West effectively preventing farmers from harvesting fields cultivated; farmers/herders conflict destroyed farm produce in some states and increased cost of transportation. They, therefore, resolved to put measures in place to address the food hike. The resolution was reached at a virtual meeting of the National Economic Council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, where they examined the trend of food prices and concluded that these factors were responsible for the rising cost.
The council, chaired by the Vice President, is made up of all state governors and relevant ministers as members.
This conclusions were reached after a presentation made to NEC by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari.
According to a statement by the spokesman to the VP, Laolu Akande, in the presentation by Kwasari, the council noted that food prices have changed between September and November involving commodities in Lagos and a few randomly selected states.
NEC, therefore, resolved that States and federal government should adopt urgent measures including social protection schemes to deal with the situation.
The federal government was also enjoined to pursue the implementation of its Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP) – Agric plan and others to positively improve the situation in the sector.