• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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FG uncovers 32 routes used to smuggle food out of Nigeria – Shettima

NSIA, NSP seal deal for Shiroro Solar Generating Company

…Says 45 trucks of maize intercepted Sunday night

Vice President Kashim Shettima on Tuesday revealed that the federal government has uncovered 32 routes used to smuggle food out of Nigeria.

The revelation came as the government battles smugglers and hoarders to provide more food for Nigerians hit by high food prices.

Shettima disclosed this at the conference on Public Wealth Management organized in Abuja by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) with the theme, “Championing Nigeria’s Economic Prosperity,” in Abuja

He disclosed that 45 trucks loaded with maize were intercepted while making their way to neighbouring countries on the midnight of Sunday.

According to him, ” Just three nights ago, 45 trucks of maize were caught being transported to neighbouring countries. Just in that Ilela axis, there are 32 illegal smuggling routes. And the moment those food stuff were intercepted, the price of maize came down by N10,000. It came down from N60,000 to N50,000.

“So, there are forces that are hell-bent on undermining our nation but this is the time for us to coalesce into a singular entity.”

The Vice President warned against those who are using the present economic difficulties to fan the embers of division, saying: “We have to make this country work. We have to move beyond politics. We are now in the face of governance.

“Sadly, some of our countrymen are still in the political mode. They are the practitioners of violence, advocating that Nigeria should go the Lebanon way. But, Nigeria is greater than anyone of us here. Nigeria will weather the storm.

“Forces are hell-bent on plunging this country into a state of anarchy. Those who could not get to power through the ballot box, instead for them to wait till 2027, are so desperate.”

He assured that the present administration will create millions of jobs by unlocking the value of Nigeria’s vast public assets with a view to optimizing and doubling the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Shettima who noted that economic revitalisation as its top priority, said the federal government has a target of raising at least $10 billion in order to increase foreign exchange liquidity that will, in turn, stabilise the naira.

Shettima highlighted a low-hanging fruit of identifying, consolidating and maximizing returns on government-owned assets worth trillions of naira.

He stated in his keynote address: “The Federal Government set a goal to raise at least $10 Billion (Ten Billion Dollars) in order to increase foreign exchange liquidity, a key ingredient to stabilise the Naira and grow the economy.

“At the core of this is ensuring optimal management of the assets and investments of the Federal Government towards unlocking their revenue potential. This includes our bold and achievable plan to double the GDP growth rate and significantly increase the GDP base over the next 8 years.”

The vice president observed that decades of mismanagement and underutilization have plagued the country’s assets spread across Nigeria and outside the borders, leading to revenue losses that have hindered economic growth.

He assured however that the newly restructured Ministry of Finance Incorporated, which is to act as custodian and active manager of these assets, will now take the centre stage.

The vice president emphasized transparency and accountability as key principles, believing that improved corporate governance, innovative partnerships, and attracting alternative investment capital will significantly increase returns.

Shettima noted that these improved returns will then be directed towards “crucial funding for education, healthcare, housing, power, roads and other areas vital to lifting millions out of poverty” and stimulating sustainable economic development and job creation for the youths.

While stressing that this initiative is not just about revenue generation, but about creating inclusive and sustainable growth, the vice president said by efficiently managing public resources, the government aims to build a more equitable society and unlock the full potential of its citizens.

He called on all stakeholders, including Ministries, Development Financial Institutions, and both public and private sector players, to partner with MOFI in optimising these strategic assets, expressing hope that the collaborative effort will unlock Nigeria’s full potential and create a brighter future for all citizens.

Earlier, Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, had assured that President Bola Tinubu is mindful of the pains of his administration’s reform programmes and is deploying appropriate mechanisms to address the challenges.

He assured that while 42,000 metric tons of assorted grains is being released with 60,000 metric tons to follow shortly, as part of measures to arrest food inflation, food prices would drop in the coming months as a result of government actions and policies.

The minister urged the management and board of the MOFI to, among other things, develop a specific line of revenue for the national budget as part of its renewed mandate of supporting the Federal Government’s fiscal stability.

On his part, Shamsudeen Usman, Chairman of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated MOFI, Board, said MOFI will, going forward, play a more active role in the management of assets under its purview, even as he urged operators of the assets to see MOFI as partners rather than competitors or regulators.

He noted that the new management is committed to high level corporate governance, disclosing that the company has integrated a non-conflict of interest policy to guide against practices that undermine professionalism among members of staff.