Letter To Financial Times Editor: Muhammadu Buhari Sparks Dismay Over Policy Shift On Food Imports

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Monday, August 19, 2019   /09:40AM / By Presidency / Header Image Credit: @MBuhari


SIR - Your article Muhammadu Buhari sparks dismay over policy shift on food imports (15 August) suggests the Nigerian Government is restricting the import of agricultural products into the country. This is simply incorrect. To be absolutely clear, there is no ban - or restriction - on the importation of food items whatsoever.


President Buhari has consistently worked towards strengthening Nigerias own industrial and agricultural base. A recent decision sees the Central Bank maintain its reserves to put to use helping growth of domestic industry in 41 product sectors rather than provide FOREX for the import of those products from overseas.


Should importers of these items wish to source their FOREX from non-government financial institutions (and pay customs duty on those imports - increasing tax-take, something the FT has berated Nigeria for not achieving on many occasions) they are freely able to do so.


Diversification of FOREX provision towards the private sector and away from top-heavy government control, a diversification of Nigerias industrial base, and an increase in tax receipts - are all policies one might expect the Financial Times to support. Yet for reasons not quite clear, the author and this newspaper seem to believe the president’s administration seeks to control everything - and yet do so via policies that relinquish government control.


We look forward to the next instalment of Mr. Munshis bizarre and puzzling article series.


Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant To The President,

Media and Publicity,



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