We’ll Reduce Interest Rates - FG assures rice millers

The Federal Government has assured rice millers of plans to ensure reduction in interest rates paid on loans.

“On the reduction of interest rates on loans requested by the millers, I think it is right. It will be done.”

Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who is the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Rice, gave the assurance at the weekend in Lagos at a stakeholders’ meeting with Rice Distributors Association of Nigeria and Rice Millers.

He said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would ensure rice availability and affordability.

He said based on the contributions of stakeholders, it was apparent that what Nigerians wanted was not making subsidy available on rice production, but making it affordable and accessible such that they could produce rice that would compete with imported ones.

“The mandate given to this task force, which is under the leadership of President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is to ensure the country has self-sufficiency in rice and wheat production.

“But so far, stakeholders within the value chain, either as farmers, distributors or millers are not talking about subsidy. What they are saying is that help us tell President Buhari that we will like to have rice at a competitive price with the so-called imported rice. This has to do with affordability. I can tell you that the President is committed to this,” the governor said.

He said the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) had responsibilities to discharge, adding that the government would intensify efforts in that regard.

National President of Rice Distributors Association of Nigeria Deaconess Olufunmulayo Akinsanya implored the Federal Government to assist millers in producing at a cost that could be afforded by the less-privileged.

Iyaloja-General Chief Folashade Tinubu Ojo said there is hunger in the land, urging governments to ensure efforts are intensified to make Nigerians feed well.