Renowned economist, Professor Pat Utomi
Professor Utomi Faults Suspension Of Import Duties On Agricultural Produce
…..says move will invite famine
Yinka Olajoyetan, Lagos
Foremost Professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi on Tuesday faulted the suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes on some essential food items imported through land and sea border by the Federal Government, stating that such move will make dependence on food Importation permanent.
Recall that the Federal Government, through the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, disclosed that the suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes on food items like maize, wheat, husked brown rice, and cowpeas, will enjoy a 150 day Duty- Free Import Window.
Faulting the move, Professor Utomi via his X handle stated that, “I woke up at 2am to do the KAKAAKI interview this morning but the chill of the wrong policies announced yesterday for the agriculture sector has not let me return to sleep.
“Do we forget so quickly? How poor trade policy with the ascendance of Oil income caused cash crop farmers to abandon the farms to the none tradable goods sector as messengers and construction workers; and when Oil price volatility resulted in construction firms not being paid on time triggering their retrenchment.
“They did not go back to farms and we became a mono product economy. Now we want to make dependence on food imports permanent when we have not the money to pay for the imports. We are inviting a famine.
“Months ago I pleaded that this food price inflation should be combated with forest rangers being deployed to fertile territories and farmers given  input incentives managed by NGOs and not corrupt government officials so that they can focus on legumes that can be harvested in three months and the markets flooded with food.
“Instead we focused on Presidential Jets, Lagos-Calabar Highway, SUVs for National Assembly and Presidential motorcades of 100 vehicles. The height of unwisdom. Now the chicken have come home to roost and we want to inflict long term structural damage in panic incentives. God Save Our Souls.”
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