The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, says the price per bag of rice has reduced compared to the price it was sold last year during the COVID-19 lockdown in April 2020.
He attributed the fall in price per 50kg bag of rice to the various intervention programmes of the apex bank.
However, checks by our correspondent showed that a 50kg bag of rice currently sells for N26,000 at markets in Lagos State. The commodity also sold for about the same price last year.
But the CBN governor while speaking at the 278Th MPC Press Briefing in Abuja on Tuesday said the price per bag of rice rose last year because there was scarcity as most of the rice produced in the country had been purchased as palliatives to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
It was reported that the during the lockdown, the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 also known as CACOVID distributed food items to Nigerians through the states. However, many states hoarded the relief items. Consequently, rampaging hoodlums looted many warehouses where the food stuffs were kept during the #EndSARS riot last October.
Emefiele, who is one of the focal leaders of CACOVID, also said some rice pyramids were going to be unveiled in Gombe State soon.
He said, “From the information available to us, we are working not only with farmers, we are also working with the millers. We know that during the period of scarcity, especially during the period that most of the rice had been purchased for COVID palliatives, price of rice went up. But if you compare the price of rice at that time to the price of rice today, it is fair to say that they are not the same, the price has come down.
“What we have done at the CBN is that for those enjoying our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in maize, rice, sorghum, we have started to insist that we do not want them to repay us in naira but we want to now take hold of those (goods) produced, taken at a particular price that we have agreed with the farmers or with the millers and based on that, we moderate price.
“These are the temporary assignments the CBN has taken on itself. By the time the Nigerian Commodity Exchange gets fully on ground, this is the full responsibility that will be given to them so that they can buy and sell, being the major player in the commodity market and stabilise the prices for the good of Nigerians.”
The CBN governor also encouraged farmers to go into irrigation farming for the produce to be available during the dry season.
Adopted from the Punch