By Naijatruth 

As food and commodity prices soar in the country, the Federal Government has expressed its concern and faced protests in Niger and Kano.

Mr. Olawale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, discussed the situation with a German delegation that visited Abuja on Monday. The delegation was led by Ms Svenja Shulze, the Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany.

Edun said the problem, which had caused dissatisfaction among the people, was due to demand and supply factors.
He recalled that some youths and women had protested against what they saw as the hoarding and exporting of food items by some traders.

The state government accused food speculators of instigating the protests.

The police said they used “minimum force” to clear the protesters who blocked the Minna-Bida Road and arrested some who were disrupting traffic.

In a related development, Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf complained on Monday that many of his people were suffering from hunger and poverty.

Yusuf said inflation had eroded incomes and led to deaths, as many people could not afford the high cost of living.

Edun, who responded to the current realities, said the only solution was to increase agricultural production, especially to lower inflation.

He spoke with Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, and said, “The government and everyone in Nigeria are worried about the rising prices,” and some important measures were being taken to tackle the situation.

He said, “It is a matter of demand and supply and we are focusing on boosting agricultural production, especially.
“The president has intervened in that sector to provide grain, fertilisers to farmers and to expand the cultivation of rice, wheat, maize, and cassava – to raise the output and reduce the prices and that will help lower inflation.

“And, of course, we are in the middle of the dry season farming and we are expecting a good dry season harvest that will ease the price, especially, and the price level in Nigeria, in general.”

Edun said the partnership with Germany was an opportunity for skills development between both sides, adding that it would help create jobs and fight poverty.

Uzoka-Anite also said the partnership with Germany was aimed at developing Nigeria’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector. She said both countries would soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to improve access to finance for women-owned businesses.

The minister said the collaboration would also promote talent development and innovation, and develop renewable energy, in line with Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, which partly aimed at industrialising the country.

She said supporting the SMEs could contribute about 55 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that both countries already had a strong and beneficial relationship, but it could be improved.

Shulze, on her part, said both countries had established cooperation based on common interest, noting that there were currently over 90 German companies operating in Nigeria.

She praised the abundance of creative young talents in the country, saying Nigeria’s security challenges could only be solved by addressing the root causes, such as jobs and education, rather than by force.

She emphasised that Germany was looking to deepen its cooperation with Nigeria.

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