A senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, Dr Ahmed Adamu, has said that the timing of the policy which places a ban on giving foreign exchange for food and fertilizer imports.
While featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, Dr Adamu said the decision is coming at a very wrong time, when the nation’s agricultural sector is not matured enough to handle such a major drift.
The scholar argued that there is an already existing inflation and as such this kind of decision can trigger hyperinflation, especially if the recently removed petrol subsidy is also brought into focus.
“This is happening at a time when Nigerians are not ready to boycott foreign food items because of their addiction or their attraction to foreign food items.
“I think its also a wrong time because we have not built the right infrastructure and we have not supplied sufficient agricultural facilities and we have not built the entire agricultural value chain.
“These are the reasons why I say this is the wrong time to do this.
“We are already facing insecurity, a lot of farmers have been displaced from their farms and they cannot produce much; so we are going to create a lot of scarcity in the country and now you are also discouraging cheaper importation of foreign products, so the only option most people will have is to tap into the comparative advantage from other countries,” Dr Adamu opined.
He further noted that at the moment the country is seeing a high rise in the prices of food items, adding that this new measure is going to increase the prices of food items further at a time when the nation has just come out of COVID-19 lockdown.
The economist stressed that Nigerians should not be punished for the failure and inability of government and policy-makers to protect the naira, reiterating that the government’s decision is “a recipe for hyperinflation”.