Minister of Finance counters presidency over high food prices

Minister of Finance Zainab has rubbished the claim that food prices are declining
Ernest Sunday

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has countered presidency over the claim that food prices are in decline insisting that it continues to increase as far as there is an increase in fuel price.

According to Daily Times, the presidency through its representative Garba Shehu stated last week while he was speaking in a programme on Channels TV, Friday, September 11 that food price was on a decline.

Speaking on the recent directive given to the Central Bank of Nigeria by President Buhari to stop the release of forex for food and fertilizer importation, Shehu said: "rice that had been ₦25,000 is now ₦20,000".

But speaking on the Nigerian Television Authority’s programme "Good Morning Nigeria" Zainab rubbished the claim that food prices were on a decline saying that it increased from its former price.

“It’s true that food prices are going up and as I said earlier on, the sensible subsidy is the one that is done on production, not on consumption because when you use gasoline in your car, you burn it and you’ve to put it in your car again and burn it," she said.

“But if you now change the regime and say any truck that carries food or produces, the diesel price is subsidised, you’re subsidising production because it means food items get to the market cheaper.

"But as long as you’re subsidising consumption, whether it’s fuel or electricity, there’ll always be the propensity for gain in the system, and then there’s always the fact that you’re subsiding for everybody and it’s not everybody that needs it.”

“What we’ve been doing is not sustainable. If we bring back fuel subsidies, we will fail because we will not be able to pay it and the problem of disputes with marketers will come back; then we’ll have queues again", Ahmed said.

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