President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday ordered the distribution of 150 trucks of rice seized by Nigeria Customs Service to the 36 states of the federation in a bid to cushion the effect of the coronavirus.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at a briefing in Abuja, said the seized trucks of rice had been handed over to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management for onward distributions to Nigerians.
The press briefing was put together by the government to intimate Nigerians on the fiscal stimulus measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock. Ahmed added that the President had also approved the distribution of grains from strategic grain reserves across the country.
“In addition, President Buhari also approved the reduction of the price of fertilizer from N5,500 to N5,000 per bag to support the farmers at this critical period,” she stated. She said more measures would be taken to provide broader benefits to the citizens.
The minister said: “We don’t want to rush and announce measures that will end up benefitting only a few of the segments. Our interest is to make sure that as much as possible a lot of Nigerians are productive and have liquidity in their hands.
“This will help to increase the consumption thereby assist to improve the economy. “This is not something we will announce in a hurry without consulting with the central ministry and also without consulting with the key participants in the sector.”
She noted that the emerging health and economic risks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and decline in the price of crude oil in the international market posed existential threats to Nigeria’s economy, healthcare system, national security, as well as the lives of the citizens. (NAN)