By Modupe Shodehinde
The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday, observed that the hike in food prices was caused by factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic, #EndSARS protest and banditry in the Northwest.
The council, which is chaired by the Vice President, urged Federal and state government to put measures in place to address the hike in food prices being witnessed across the country.
This followed a presentation made to NEC by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr Andrew Kwasari.
A statement issued by the Vice President’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, on Thursday evening, stated that the council received a presentation on situation analysis of the current food price.
It noted that “Food prices have changed between September and November involving commodities in Lagos and a few randomly selected states.
“The Hike in prices is due to the following factors; Delay in going out to farm, which translates to delay in harvesting courtesy of COVID-19 pandemic
“EndSARS protest stalled food transportation and delivery and in some instances destroyed food stores.
“Banditry in the northwest effectively preventing farmers from harvesting fields cultivated.
“Farmers/herders conflict destroyed farm produce in some states and increased cost of transportation.”
State and Federal government were therefore advised to adopt urgent measures including social protection schemes to deal with the situation.
Akande stated that, “The FG will also pursue the implementation of its ESP -Agric plan and others to positively improve the situation in the sector.”
The ad-hoc committee to engage with Nigerian youth and other critical stakeholders in addressing the deeper roots of the #EndSARs protests was presented to NEC.
The committee is to engage the youth, religious organisation, civil society, security agencies regarding the issues and recommend effective solutions towards strengthening national unity among others.
He also said the council was briefed on ongoing engagements with youths in states.
“Council resolved that the planned zonal engagements should proceed with the focus on youths and Civil Society Organisations dealing especially with issues or jobs, and employment.
“Similarly, the states level interactions should proceed in places where this has not been reported.” he added