THE taskforce set up to identify causes of soaring food prices in the country and exploring ways to bring them down has blamed the situation on poor road infrastructure, multiple taxation among others.
Rising from its maiden meeting presided over by acting President Yemi Osinbajo at Aguda House, his official residence in Abuja on Friday; the task force raised a technical sub group to draw up an action plan to tackle the problem.
According to a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on media and publicity, Friday’s meeting focused on gaining full understanding of the factors responsible for the rising prices of staple food stuff despite number harvests in some farms.
It said government believes that it can intervene to resolve some of the bottlenecks contributing to the increase in prices.
The statement said: “The taskforce on food security constituted by the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, had its inaugural meeting this morning.
“At the meeting presided over by the Ag President, the taskforce focused on gaining a full understanding of all factors that contribute to unduly high food prices, especially at urban markets throughout the country.
“It also considered the ways and means of urgently ameliorating the situation, particularly by addressing issues of affordability and availability.
“In particular, it identified some key staple foods and the factors that were most likely driving high food prices in some parts of the country, despite bumper harvests at many farms.
“Some of the factors identified in this regard include: the poor state of rural infrastructure like roads; multiple revenue collecting points on the highways; and inadequacy of distribution networks-all of which contribute, among other things to high transportation costs.
“Against this background, the taskforce felt that government could most usefully intervene by resolving such bottlenecks.
“It also felt it important to clarify that the assignment of the taskforce is not about government intervening directly in the market for staple foods either though purchases or price fixing.
“The taskforce will be coordinating various MDAs and working closely with the private sector to explore ways and means of overcoming some of the supply bottlenecks in the short term, while also reinforcing ongoing medium and long-term solutions including improving supplies and providing better storage.
“A more technical subgroup of the taskforce is now drawing up a draft plan of action for further consideration.”
The taskforce set up last Wednesday, is made up of Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh; Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Industry, Trade & Development, Okey Enelamah; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister for Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu and Minister of Labour & Employment, Chris Ngige.
It was given one week to submit its preliminary report.