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N60bn has been approved by federal government for rice subsidy programme - Minister

- Sixty billion naira has been approved by the federal government in support of its rice subsidy programme

- This was disclosed in Abuja by the minister of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbeh

- Ogbeh says a committee will be constituted for a smooth implementation of the programme

The federal government has approved N60 billion in support of its rice subsidy programme aimed at bringing down the price of the commodity across the country.

The minister of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbeh, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the National Food Security Council, NAN reports.

Legit.ng gathers that the meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, November 16.

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The minister disclosed that a committee would be constituted by the ministry of agriculture in collaboration with ministry of finance for smooth implementation of the rice subsidy programme.

Ogbeh said: “There is a subsidy programme coming up. Government has approved some money, N60 billion to support the rice industry to bring down prices. But we are going to handle it differently.

“We don’t want to get into petroleum subsidy problem, so a committee is looking at it with the ministry of finance.

“We think that it is better for us to loan money to the millers, farmers and distributors at a very low interest rate, so that the capital doesn’t disappear, and if they have cheaper credit to do their business, that should impact on the price of rice in the market.

“Every country does it for food, we will use a different method to do it and it will be cheap credit to the farmers, millers and the marketers, not outright cash subsidy for their product."

The minister, who announced that the Bank of Agriculture would soon be restructured, expressed the hope that farmers would be able to buy shares in the bank after the restructuring exercise.

Ogbeh also expressed optimism that the restructuring process would bring down the bank’s interest rates to five percent.

He added that the objective was to make agriculture more attractive so that people could raise capital to invest in profitable business ventures.

The minister: “The Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) is about to restructure the bank of agriculture after which farmers are going to be able to buy shares in the bank, so eventually it will become the farmers bank.

“And we hope in the process that it will bring down interest rates reasonably maybe 5 percent or a little higher, so that agriculture will become attractive and people can raise capital to invest."

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused the federal government of trying to cover a huge fraud in the presidency by declaring that it spends N24 billion monthly (N774 million per day) to subsidise fuel in the country.

In a statement sent to journalists on Monday, March 5, the party's national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiya, described the figure as “fictitious and cleverly fabricated to retire the already exposed stealing of trillions of naira by the presidency cabal and All Progressives Congress (APC) interests in secret oil deals.”

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Source: Legit.ng

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