The chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, Doyin Salami, has revealed that the Federal government spent a total of N1.85 trillion on food imports in 2020, despite the fact that the country’s land borders were closed all through last year.
Salami made this known during the virtual 2021 National Economic Outlook event organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria on Tuesday.
Recall that the land borders were closed in August 2019 to curb the smuggling of rice, other commodities and weapons.
The chairman said, “Despite border closure, our national import of food amounted to N1.85 trillion between January and September, 2020, a 62 per cent increase when compared to the same period in 2019.
“This suggests a weakness in our ability to feed ourselves and raises the need to consider review of intervention policies in agriculture.”
He lamented on the climatic situation which undermined agricultural output with 2.5 million farmers being impacted by flooding in 2019.
He said, “Agriculture continues to decelerate growing at 1.7 per cent year to date while consumer sensitive sectors like manufacturing and distribution continue to contract in double digits.
“Nigeria’s external imbalances are increasingly precarious with continuing concern over exchange rate differentials.
“By the measure that drives the value of the Naira based on the Naira/dollar inflation differential, the currency should be trading around N439 a dollar at the official market.”