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Tinubu’s removal of tariffs on rice, other food items still under consideration, not yet official: Bayo Onanuga

The Tinubu administration is considering suspending tariffs on rice and other food commodities’ imports for 150 days to rein in hunger nationwide....For More CONTINUE THE FULL READING▶▶

Presidential spokesman Bayo Onanuga told Peoples Gazette that a memo was already circulating across government departments, even though the policy was not imminent as of Monday evening.

The memo leaked online Monday to nationwide excitement, but the president’s spokesman said it was a regrettable error.

“The policy was mistakenly circulated,” Mr Onanuga told The Gazette by telephone Monday evening. “We are still deliberating internationally from the agric ministry to other agencies on how best to proceed with the policy.”

Mr Onanuga apologised for the error and said the government was not oblivious to its potential impact on longsuffering Nigerians.

The Gazette was in the process of publishing the draft when clarification came from Mr Onanuga that it was yet unfinished. It came as reports that a frustrated citizen attempted to jump to his death from a 40-metre-high radio transmitter gripped the country.

The retracted policy draft said the measures would be implemented over the next 180 days and involve relaxing duties, tariffs and taxes on importing certain food commodities through land and sea borders.

Mr Tinubu’s administration, which kicked off in May 2023, has faced growing anger among Nigerians over its failure to address endemic food shortages urgently, even as inflation hovered at historically high figures. In recent weeks, the government has tried to address the issue by calling on Nigerians to plant food at subsistence levels, with First Lady Remi Tinubu leading the charge with a cash price for households.

But this approach has seen its share of mockery, as citizens took online to decry how futile it would be to expect over 200 million citizens to farm their way to food sustainability when massive importation would suffice.

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Kylian Walterlin

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