APC PCC expresses deep concerns cash crunch will affect food security

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The All Progressives Congress, Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), has expressed deep concerns about the current cash crunch which has hit Nigerians as a result of the Federal Government’s Naira swap policy.

It worries that the development is impacting negatively on rural farmers and threatening food security.

At a news conference in Abuja, the Agro-Commodities Directorate of the PCC explained how the Naira redesign policy and its troubled implementation is impoverishing rural farmers nationwide, with many of them dying.

The scarcity of naira has forced prices of food to drop significantly at major farm produce markets across the country, The Guardian has gathered.

According to the IMF, there is a need for decisive and effective monetary policy tightening to avoid a de-anchoring of inflation expectations.

Higher international food and fertiliser prices and continued widening of the parallel market premium could culminate in the de-anchoring of inflation expectations.

The APC Agro-Commodities Directorate, has lamented that most leaders of the agricultural commodities association, groups and cooperatives are hurting as well as its members in rural and suburban Nigeria.

It noted that most leaders of the agricultural commodities association, groups and cooperatives are hurting as well as its members in rural and suburban Nigeria.

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“The pain is also present in urban Nigeria as well and this challenge is literally killing farmers, their hard-earned savings, their fortunes, and this has left most farmers in a state of confused hopelessness.

“Rural agriculture in Nigeria cannot survive without cash in the hands of our people. More than 70% of rural Nigeria cannot boast of power, stable telecoms and banking services. But the resilient Nigerian farmer has built wealth that is in cash. Taking that wealth away without alternatives, rushing the process, killing his or her ability to continue and creating bottlenecks will not help them and this country”, the PCC noted.

The directorate also hailed Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state for speaking the minds of rural Nigeria farmers in his opposition to the timing of the policy.

According to the PCC, “the cashless policy and petrol scarcity is literally making rural Nigeria farmers and ordinary Nigerians suffer and become poorer after President Muhammadu Buhari made life so much better for rural farmers in eight years”.

“Nigeria cannot solve this currency crisis quickly. We must stop playing with the economy because this has already caused serious damages in the past weak to our fragile economy. Knowing the Nigerian economy is massively rural and particularly driven by farmers, petty traders and small businesses, there is no argument for continuing to suffer ordinary Nigerians and particularly farmers. Our economy cannot be managing to barely survive and we use naira note redesign as the tool to cause more pains.

“When some of us are accused of being unpatriotic because we complain about the pains and challenges with the currency redesign and implementation, we are happy to be on the same page with our leader, the Asiwaju of Nigerian farmers – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima who said they were ‘distressed by the news of cash strapped farmers having to sell their products excessively cheap to avoid losing all. Such dispiriting experience in the short term may be a disincentive to our hardworking farmers.’

Secretary of the directorate, Retson Tedheke on his part said the naira redesign policy is posing a great threat to Nigeria’s food security which he said is a challenge to cultural, economic and socio-political stability.

“Farmers are already challenged with repaying government and CBN interventions. This will make a bad situation worse.

“We are not against the naira redesign policy and if the federal government believes it is a good thing, we are with the government but the following must be done to aid the rural farming communities nationwide.

“The process should have a one-year lifespan. The CBN must as a matter of national urgency increase allocations to banks nationwide to reduce the immediate pressure and challenges created by this policy and the wrong timing.

“That the CBN adopts a phase-by-phase implementation process of the currency swap within one year where the three denominations will be phased out at different times with sufficient supply of the new notes to avoid scarcity of that particular denomination.

The policy is coming at a bad time, as farmers just came out of a very bad flood situation where farmlands were washed away.

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