FoodPolitics

FG To Distribute 42,000MT Grains Free, As Ogun Begins N5bn Interventions

Grains

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, announced that it would distribute the 42,000 metric tonnes of grains approved by President Bola Tinubu to poor Nigerians at no cost.

This came as Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun on Wednesday announced over N5bn intervention plans which he said would go a long way to help the residents of the state stay afloat the biting effects of the country’s struggling economy occasioned by the rising inflation and currency devaluation.

Abiodun revealed that the intervention was a direct reaction to the fact that the government was never oblivious or insensitive of the hard times Nigerians were going through.

The governor said that the intervention plans would cover education, health distribution of food as well as deliberate welfare packages for the workers.

He said that whatever the country was experiencing were necessary sacrifices had to be made towards ensuring a greater tomorrow.

Abiodun lauded President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his continuous efforts in navigating the complexities of the nation’s economic landscape saying that his dedication to steering the ship through turbulent times had not gone unnoticed.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government also announced that the Department of State Services and the National Emergency Management Agency had been engaged in the distribution process of the 42,000MT of grains approved by Tinubu in order to ensure that the commodities get to the targeted citizens nationwide.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, who disclosed this at a ministerial press briefing in Abuja, further revealed that the government would be supporting 500,000 farmers to cultivate and produce one million metric tonnes of rice.

He said this would increase Nigeria’s rice production from the current seven/eight million tonnes annually to a new level, adding that the government would offtake the 60,000 metric tonnes of rice being produced by millers.

Kyari also revealed that 15 state governors had expressed interest to participate fully in this year’s dry season farming, adding that this would help in ameliorating the food crisis being experienced in Nigeria.

On February 8, 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000MT of maize, millet and other commodities from the national strategic reserves in order to address the rising cost of food in Nigeria.

Providing explanation on how the 42,000MT grains would be distributed at the press briefing on Wednesday, the Agric minister said it would go to poor Nigerians for free.

Kyari said, “This 42,000MT is going to the needy free of charge. It will be directly to the needy at no cost.”

Asked to state how the government would identify the needy, Kyari replied, “We’ve met with NEMA and DSS to give us the index. These are where to gather intelligence report on where it is needed the most. And we are going to look at those indices.”

The agric minister insisted that the government would ensure that only those who have need of the grains benefit from the exercise, adding that state governors had been put on notice about this development.

Kyari noted that 53,000MT grains were in various reserves across the country, but stated that the government would release 42,000MT, while the remaining 11,000MT would be left for emergency purposes.

He explained that about 1,200 trucks would be filled with the 42,000MT grains, adding that it would be distributed in all states, and urged Nigerians to exercise patience with the government.

“The government is working hard to address the challenges in the agricultural sector and will make sure that the grains get to those who really need them,” the minister stated.

Ogun intervenes

On the Ogun State’s N5bn intervention programme, Abiodun said “Even the IMF and World Bank have commended these initiatives. It is this sincerity of purpose that is the main ingredient of the continued success of the “Renewed Hope” Agenda.

“The Federal Government is not only steadfast in its commitment towards creating a brighter future for all citizens, but is also trying hard to foster a society where prosperity and well-being of the entire citizens prevail.”

Abiodun specifically said that under this intervention plans, at least 100,000 indigent primary and secondary school students would collect N10,000 educational grants, 27, 600 tertiary institutions students will collect N50,000 grants while over 850,000 pupils across the primary and secondary schools in the State will be given five exercise books each.

He disclosed further that, over 70,000 beneficiaries including women, children and the elderly will benefit from the health insurance which is N18000 per person while the state is also targeting 300,000 households for its free distribution of food stuff like rice, garri among others under this intervention plans.

Abiodun also plans payment of N500m monthly to settle the backlog of deductions owed the workers in the state .

He explained that “As our administration acknowledges the concerns raised by many of our citizens regarding the rising food prices and shortages, coupled with the depreciation of the Naira, we identify with you and are taking proactive measures to alleviate the impact of these challenges to guarantee the welfare, well-being and wellness of our citizens in this difficult time.

“In this direction and through targeted interventions, we aim to address these challenges by implementing a series of phased initiatives aimed at alleviating these burdens on all our citizens.

“The state has taken the following steps: education sector: providing a minimum of five exercise books for all 850,000 students in our public primary and secondary schools. Providing a one-time N10,000 education support grant for at least 100,000 pupils in our public primary and secondary schools in the state.

“Providing all 27,600 indigent students in tertiary institutions nationwide with an education grant of N50,000 each.Health Sector:We will be providing insurance health cover for over 70,000 beneficiaries to include pregnant women, children, the elderly, market women and other members of the informal sector.

“More specifically, for pregnant women, under our Ibidero Scheme, we would be providing free pre-natal care, an additional N5,000 per birth and free post-natal care in our State Hospitals and Primary Health Care Centers across the State.

“Food palliatives: Provision of food palliatives to include rice and other food items for about 300,000 households across the State. Civil Servants:The State Government will commence to offset the backlog of inherited deductions.

“To this end, we are immediately committing N500M monthly payment towards outstanding deductions. It is noteworthy that we have continues to pay N10,000 transport allowance to all civil servants for the last 8 moths.

“This brings our total immediate interventions as a responsible State Government to about N5Bn across all sectors of the State economy.

“Our primary responsibility as a Government is to provide security of lives and properties to all residents in the State. I have met with the law enforcement agencies in our State and let me be clear, I will not allow anyone to test our will.

“Anyone who wants to test our will, will do so at their own peril. While the road ahead may be challenging, your patience, understanding and cooperation are crucial as we navigate these challenging times together”