How Flour Mills, Olam Agri, Aggravated Nigerians Economic Hardship; Tinubu Orders NCS, To Give Palliatives To Nigerians 

ByStephen Ubanna

 Vice President Kashim Shettima,  who incidentally is the Chairman of Nigerian Economic Council, NEC,  and other Chieftains of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC,  who had  repeatedly said that Bola Ahmed Tibu, will replicate the economic miracle he did in Lagos state  has explanations to offer Nigerians.

This is because of the uncontrollable prices of goods and services and scarcity of foodstuff fueling speculations – making the rounds the most populous West African country is already going the way of the South American country of Venuzuela, an oil producing nation and member C of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting countries,  OPEC, and Haiti, where shortage of foodstuff and pharmaceutical products has come to stay.

The problem of scarcity of foodstuff, particular,  Maize , Soughum, Nigeria  may have started when Flour Mills, a Multinational Company,  announced through its subsidiary,  Premier Mills and  Olam Agri, another Company , took the bold initiative to stop the importation of Maize and Sorghum  due to the increasing cost of the commodities.

The Companies which over the years had purchased  its raw materials , maize and sorghum  in Nigeria, thus helping  to  meet the nation’s demand for animal protein  and feed the nation by creating   jobs for thousands of Nigerian farmers appears to have thrown them to the job  market  causing severe hardship for the country due bad economic policies of the Tibnubu’s Administration over the last seven months like the removal of fuel subsidy and unification of the official and Parallel, popular, black markets foreign exchange rates.

 The Nigerian government may not have expected the two big time Multinational Companies   which provides differentiated food, feed, and fibre products to Nigeria farmers to have suspended purchase of Nigeria farmers maize and sorghum until the government takes another look at its economic policies and management of the country’s foreign exchange market.

Cardoso” Governor, CBN

This is where Wale Edun, minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the Economy and Olayemi Michael Cardoso, governor of CBN, both political allies of Tinubu, who were said to have contributed  immensely to the former Lagos  state  governor economic miracles in the state are expected to put on their thinking cap to help resolve the country’s economic woes.

Dalung Solomon, a former minister of Youths and Sports, under the Buhari’s Administration,  who could no longer take the excuses of Tinubu and his inability to deliver on his electioneering campaign promises to Nigeria by consistently   attributing  the country’s economic to the ex-President Muhammadu Buhari had asked him to sit up a the country s at the brink of collapse due to acute hunger.

 An aggrieved Solomon, who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’if Tinubu  could deploy the same energy, knowledge, tactics and money  during the February 25, 23, elections and tribunals to tackle the country’s security and economic issues , situation of things would not have been too bad as significant  progress would  have been achieved.

He has questioned the Tinubu’s government who believes in bulk purchase trading whether it was the only solution that ha been proposed by his economic team to solve the country’s deteriorating economic problem. The former minister would want President Tinubu and his economic team to expedite action in addressing ‘’ the problem of hunger and the high cost of living in the country’’.

An aggrieved Solomon had joined other Nigerians to criticize the government’s fuel subsidy removal without adequate measures, currency devaluation without  stimulating production,  and the high cost of governance’’.  He had said that blaming Buhari for the country’s economic challenges was begging the question.  He was emphatic that blaming Buhari for the country’s economic woes cannot address the economic situation confronting the people or bulk trading solve the problem.

He may have given President Tinubu a cause to worry about when he reminded him that he ‘’looked for the job  to rule Nigeria’’, noting  that he’’ knew  all the problems of the country, ‘’yet he snatched  power and run away with it’’.

While  Tinubu, appears to have spent the last  seven  months  in office  putting blames on the Buhari’ Administration  for messing up the country’s economy, in his  eight years rule, believing withdrawal of fuel subsidy, would solve  the economic problems inherited from the previous Administration, he got it  wrong. The IMF under the leadership of Kristalina Georgieva, had reported that the Tinubu’s Administration had partially  restored fuel subsidy in Nigeria.

A source at the Nigerian National Petroleum  Corporation, NNPC, now baptized, Nigerian Petroleum Company Limited,  NPCL, with the signing into Law of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by former President Buhari, in August 2021,  had told  the Value News   that the  present Tinubu’s Administration spends  N907.5  billion monthly in  subsidizing  petrol imports, which many believe is much higher than that of the Buhari’s regime. 

The source disclosed that the government could spend that much   on the country’s petrol imports landing cost which had been attributed to the instability in the country’s foreign exchange market.  The Landing cost of the product, was said to have surged to N1,009.00 per litre.

The unpredictability in the country’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market,  believed to be instrumental to rising costs of goods and services  in the country may have informed  why Wale Edun, minister  of Finance and Coordinating minister of the Economy, and  Doris Uzoka-Anite ,  his Counterpart in the ministry of  Industry , Trade and Investment, Olayemi Michael Cardoso, CBN , governor and Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, are working round the clock to find the best option for the county’s foreign Exchange rate.

It was not surprising why the government has taken action against spot traders on big crypto- currency companies like Binance. The Nigerian government and the big time crypto currency trading companies, an informed source toldThe online Magazine, are currently discussing new rules for buying and selling cryptocurrency with the government officials. These rules when eventually introduced would limit certain types of trading that have been negatively affecting the naira’s value between 2023 and now due to the unpredictable nature of the currency trading.

The American Collegiate Dictionary, had defined spot trading as the buying and selling of Financial Asset, including crypto currencies, for immediate settlement, in spot trading. Note that in spot trading, transactions are settled on the spot, meaning that the delivery of the Asset and payment occur almost simultaneously.

In , understanding the spot market , analysts said traders profit from price differences between buying and selling Assets and crypto currencies within short period.  The traders, both individual and Institutional investors who are benefiting from the spot market, a banker said capitalize on the market fluctuations and generate returns.     

The suggested rules, a CBN, source confirmed  might include  setting limits  on how much crypto currency people  can trade, keeping a close watch on these transactions   and applying stricter  guidelines  for crypto currency  exchanges in Nigeria.  

Financial analysts are optimistic that the talks between the Nigerian government and the big time cryptocurrency companies will not breakdown down midway, ‘’it will lead to safer and more regulated environment in Nigeria’’. They noted that the change is expected now that the country is undergoing severe economic challenges   to encourage trading that is more responsible and help stabilize the country’s economy.

In related development, while the situation in the country is getting tougher on a daily basis, some northern governors were said from the region to have stopped trucks carrying foodstuff, particular, grains and vegetables to the southern part of the country but could not stop trucks loaded with food items to neighbouring Niger Republic and the Central African country of Cameroun.

Wale Adeniyi: CG, Customs

 Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General, may have indicted the northern states governors when he confirmed that 61 trucks loaded with food tuff which are I, intercepted are currently being detained in different Customs Formations across the country.

In spite of those  who are well-bent  on undermining the nation in this turbulent time, President Tinubu , who is  under intense pressure to do some urgent to save the  situation from deteriorating  was said to  to have given orders to Adeniyi led NCS, to give palliatives to Nigerians because of bad government economic policies. as the Authorities of the World Bank/IMF,  has warned  that the naira exchange  may depreciate further by about 35%  that may further lead the country’s inflation rate to peak  at 44% this 2024.

In keeping with the Presidential directive, Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General had revealed on Thursday, February 22, 2024, in Lagos, the nation’s Financial and Commercial Capital that the significant outflow of food items to neigbouring West African countries and Cameroun, had informed why the service had intensified efforts to protect the food security of the nation.  He had identified 20,000 bags of assorted grains made up of rice, both local and foreign, beans, maize, Guinea corn, millets and soya bean.

This is n addition  to 2,500 cartons and 963 bags of smoked fish, dried pepper, tomatoes, vegetable oil, Maggi, Macaroni, Spaghetti, salt, sugar  and bags of  garri, deposited in different government warehouses across the country that would be given out as palliatives to Nigerians to crash the price of foodstuffs in Nigerian markets.   

NCS Auctions 25 Kg bags of rice to Nigerians on the orders of President Tinubu To crash rice price

As a prelude to ensuring that the seized smuggled foreign rice which had been condemned by the Court of Law gets to as many people across the country may have encouraged the Customs Management to make  rice affordable to Nigerians, particular, vulnerable People.  Each of the 0Kg bags of rice in government ware houses were said to have been re-bagged into 25Kg each, running into millions of bags  to be auctioned to the public at give away price. While a 2Kg bag was sold in the open market for N3,000.00 each, the Customs Authorities were said to have brought  it down to as low  as N10,000.00 to make it affordable to Nigerians and to inflict pain to the smugglers.

The Customs Comptroller General  had supervised mockery  sales of the food  items   in Lagos on Thursday, February 22, 2024 while the actual sales was flagged off in all Customs Formations across the country on Friday, February 23, 2024, amid tight security mounted by the customs  and other security agencies and Department of State Services, to ensure that process was orderly.          

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