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Nigerian govt to open food reserves to address hunger, food inflation

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As a result of the high cost of living and hardship being faced by citizens, the Nigerian government has pledged to open food reserves across the country to address the situation.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who gave the assurance at the end of the second day of a Special Presidential Committee in Emergency Food Intervention meeting in Abuja, assured Nigerians that very soon food items would be released from the National Food Reserves as part of the measures to crash food prices.

The meeting which was convened by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, according to Idris, is part of the federal government’s move to stem rising food prices in the country.

According to the Minister, major millers and commodity traders would be engaged by the government in order to make the food items readily available.

”We just rounded off a meeting. It is a Special Presidential Committee to address the issue of food shortage or lack of enough food on the table of most Nigerians,” Idris said.

“What I will tell Nigerians is that the President has directed that government needs to step in to stem this tide. Government will not fold its arms and see the way Nigerians are suffering in terms of the availability of these food items.

“Now, some of these will involve unlocking the foods that are available in most of the storage facilities National Food Reserve around the country. You know that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has some food reserves. They are going to be made available to Nigerians.

“The government is also talking to major millers and major commodity traders, to also see what is available in their stores. To open it up, so the government will provide some intervention, discuss with them and provide some intervention to make this food available to Nigerians.”

“What the government is noticing is that there is still food in this country. Some people are taking advantage of the situation, especially because of the high cost and the depreciation in the value of our currency that has led to the cost of these food items also going up.

“All these issues were discussed; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Yemi Cardoso) was at the meeting. The Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy (Wale Edun) was there and of course, the Chief of Staff and the National Security Adviser were there. The NSA was there because of some national security implications.

“All these have been discussed and like I said, this conversation or discussion is going to continue,” Idris added.

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Hardship: Nigerian govt to resume direct cash transfers to 12m citizens

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Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun, has revealed that the federal government will resume direct transfer of cash to 12 million indigent citizens to cushion the hardship they are currently going through.

The minister, who made the announcement in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria on Wednesday during a retreat organised by the ministry, said the direct cash transfer would be for the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians.

Edun said, presently, about three million Nigerians were recipients of the programmes but due to the escalating cost of living, the “government anticipates that an additional 12 million households could qualify for these direct payments.”

“The presidential panel on the social investment programmes have prepared to go to Mr. President with an internal recommendation to restart the direct payments to the poorest and the most vulnerable. Everything is being done to ease the pain,” Edun said.

“We know that there’s been about three million beneficiaries now, but given the way the rates have gone, there are probably another 12 million people, households that can benefit from that payment.”

He further noted that the expansion of the direct cash transfer is projected to reach a wider population who are currently struggling with the economic situation and to put more money directly in the hands of those who need it most, allowing them to prioritise their needs and alleviate poverty.

“The decision to inform the President of the Panel’s decision before the final report is completed is to keep the President abreast of developments,” he said.

“The only thing delaying that is not waiting for the end of the report. It is something that the intervention is meant to happen immediately.

“We have experts in technology, the commitment was to make sure that we use technology to ensure that we have a seamless payment, a seamless movement between the registered and the direct beneficiaries, without any manual processes in between. So it’s taking time to automate that process immediately that direct payment will resume.

“The goal is to put food, to put feed into the mill, into the market, in an attempt to drive down the cost of food and make food available. Right now, that is the key priority in terms of the fiscal side, in terms of the government side.

“History has shown, evidence has shown that when you pay someone directly, you put money in their hand. It reduces poverty because they decide where the shoe is pinching most.

“So it is a direct benefit, it has a direct effect on poverty. It alleviates, and there’s a commitment to immediately start that process. So that is, as far as these interventions are concerned and the landscape which we as a team are facing, we have a commitment to help to bring down inflation.

“Growing the economy, creating jobs and lifting millions and millions of Nigerians out of poverty, that’s the ultimate goal of President Bola Tinubu and his economic policies.”

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Zambian govt begs citizens in diaspora to help attract foriegn investment

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The Zambian government has called on its citizens in the diaspora to help in attracting foreign direct investment to the country in the face of the economic challenges the nation is going through.

Chief Government spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa, who made the appeal in Addis Ababa during a dinner hosted by Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Rose Sakala, for the Zambian delegation that participated in the 37th African Union (AU) Ordinary Summit for Heads of State and Government, urged the diaspora citizens to portray Zambia’s image positively to the outside world so as to encourage foreign investors to invest in the country.

In a statement issued in Lusaka by the First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, inutu Mwanza, Mweetwa who is also Zambia’s Minister for Information and Media, said Zambians living abroad are the country’s flag carriers who should ensure that the good image of the country was portrayed at all times.

“It is important for those working abroad to look out for available opportunities and best practices to make Zambia better,” Mweetwa said.

Also speaking, Minister of Education, Douglas Syakailma, who also attended the event, called for hard work among Zambians.

“The AU theme for the year 2024 on Education, provides an opportunity for the government to re-look at aspects of education that require more attention to improve the education system,” he said.

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