Abiodun OBA

 

All foreign nationals who want to patronise indigenous farmers are to go through licensed local buying agents.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after Wednesday’s virtual Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, FG has okayed appropriate mechanisms to ensure competitive prices for commodities of indigenous farmers in a bid to protect them from exploitation and also ensure that they have the appropriate incentives to guarantee their continued participation in their trade.

According to Adebayo, two memos were presented on behalf of his ministry; one of which was for the promotion of agribusiness in Nigeria through the right farm gate pricing and ban on foreign nationals and their representatives from purchasing agricultural commodities at the farm gates.

He said, “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 can buy their goods.”

The Minister also disclosed that he presented another memo to FEC for the approval of the Trade Policy Action Plan themed “Unleashing Nigeria’s Development Potentials through Trade and Investment.”

He said the Action Plan also approved by Council was formulated to utilise trade as another means of generating revenue outside oil whose revenue is plummeting.

“The whole idea is that because we’re not making as much money as we used to from the 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.

“So, the action plan aims to utilise the existing national trade policy to facilitate effective use of international trade and investment as tools for economic growth and poverty reduction in the country.

“We’ve got approval to engage with all the ministries, departments and agencies involved in trade and revenue generation, and also the organized private sector and civil society organisations to ensure a successful implementation of the trade policy action plan,” he said.

He explained that the ministry would now inaugurate a committee to look into the existing trade policy which was last updated in 2002.

He added that the ministry will also draft an investment policy.

“Both policies would be ready before the end of 2022,” he affirmed.

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