The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a memo banning foreigners or their agents from purchasing agricultural commodities at farm gates across the country.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting, presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the approval was necessitated by the need for government to establish an appropriate mechanism that would protect local farmers in terms of achieving the right prices for their goods and commodities.
Adebayo added that the approval was also meant to ensure that the farmers have the appropriate incentives and the needed encouragement to guarantee their continued participation in the farming business.
“I presented two memos to the Federal Executive Council. One of the memos was the promotion of agribusiness in Nigeria through right farm gate pricing and ban on foreigners or their representatives from purchasing agricultural commodities at the farm gates.
“As you are all aware, this memo was necessitated by the need for government to establish an appropriate mechanism that would not only protect our farmers in terms of achieving the right prices for their goods and commodities, but also ensure that they have the appropriate incentives and the needed encouragement to guarantee their continued participation in the farming business.
“Over the years, foreigners have been going to the farm gates and buy produce from the farmers at low prices, thus deincentivising the farmers from continuing with their trade.
“So, we finally got approval from FEC today for only licensed local buying agents who must be registered by the relevant national commodity associations, they are the ones who now will be able to buy goods directly from the farmers and sell to the foreigners.
“This way, the farmers will no longer be cheated by these foreigners who just throw money at them and are able to buy their goods,’’ he said.
The minister also disclosed that the Council approved the Trade Policy Action Plan.
According to him, the theme of the action plan is “Unleashing Nigeria’s Development Potentials through Trade and Investment”.
“The whole idea is that because we’re not making as much money as we used to from sale of oil, and because of reduction in the money that comes from that aspect of Nigeria’s revenue generation, we want to utilize trade as a means of generating revenue for the country.
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“So, the action plan aims to utilise the existing national trade policy to facilitate an effective use of international trade and investment as tools for economic growth and poverty reduction in the country.
“So, we’ve got approval from Council today to engage with all the ministries, departments and agencies involved in trade and revenue generation, and also the organised private sector and civil society organisations to ensure a successful implementation of the trade policy action plan.
“One of the next steps that we will be taking now that we have this approval, we will be inaugurating a committee which will look into the update of the existing trade policy, which was last updated in 2002.
“And also, we’ll be looking into coming up with an investment policy.’’
On his part, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, revealed that the Council approved the introduction of another layer of quality assurance certificate in government digital services.
According to him, before now, all federal public institutions have been mandated by law and also by government policies, that before they embark on any information technology project, they must obtain IT Project Clearance to embark on it.
He said: “There are so many benefits of that, this is provided for in NITDA Act 2007, Section 6, under Article A and the federal government has re-emphasized that through a circular on Aug. 31, 2018.
“So many federal public institutions have been complying with this and the report is very commendable.
“We presented the report before the Federal Executive Council today. The report covers Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021.
“This report captures all the IT projects in the country, particularly towards our government digital services for the whole year.
“In that report, it is clearly mentioned that 282 major projects were submitted for clearance, out of this number 258 were cleared and 24 were rejected and the total amount submitted seeking for permission to implement the project was over N213 billion by many federal public institutions.
“Out of this, NITDA cleared around N154 billion and if you compute the amount submitted and the amount approved, you will discover that we are able to save more than N24 billion for the federal government of Nigeria.” (NAN)