Why cost of food items is high – FG

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The Federal Government says despite the revolution witnessed in the agricultural sector, the cost of food items is still high because of infrastructural deficit and export demands.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this on Tuesday, when he featured on Africa Independent Television’s (AIT) current affairs programme, “Focus Nigeria.”

“Despite the fact that the production of staples like rice, grains, yam has increased with the agriculture revolution of the government, food items are still on the high side.

“There are many reasons the prices are still up there but principally, I think it is infrastructural deficit.

“By this, I mean what it takes to bring the produce from the farms to the farm gates and from the farm gates to the city centres and this may not improve until various road and rail projects are completed.

“The goodnews, however, is that from October this year, the General Electric, which has the concession for the 3,500 narrow gauge rail routes will commence work.

“The Lagos to Kano standard gauge rail project and the Lagos to Calabar rail lines which will criss cross all southeastern states are priority projects of the government.

“That will help in the transportation of goods and services, including agricultural produce at a far cheaper fare and that will percolate to the common man,” he said.

The minister said the government would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Lagos to Ibadan, Kano to Maiduguri and other critical roads across the country were completed.

Mohammed also explained that “there is so much demand on our grains and cereals from other parts of Africa.

Speaking on his hopes and fears for the country, the minister said 57 years after independence, he was very confident and optimistic that Nigeria would be great.

The minister reiterated the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that with Nigeria exiting recession, the administration would not rest on its oars until the impact was felt by all Nigerians.

He said it was on record that since January, the country had recorded monthly steady reduction on headline inflation.

For those criticising the president on his Independence Address to the nation, the minister said that Buhari addressed issues that were germane to national development.

He said Buhari’s speech touched on national security, economy, corruption, unity and development as well as the achievements recorded by the administration despite constraints.

The minister said though the government had made its position clear on the agitation for restructuring, but “the greatest threat we have today is not restructuring but it is about corruption.”

The minister commended the ruling APC for creating the platform to get the aggregate of the views of Nigerians as to what they meant by restructuring.

 

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