By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Government has approved the setting up of a Task Force to address the rising cost of food items across the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told State House correspondents alongside the Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun and Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika.
The meeting, which was held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was presided over by the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Mohammed said the Federal Government was concerned over the exorbitant prices of the food items and is determined to something urgently to reverse the trend.
Members of the task force include the ministers of agriculture, finance, water resources and transportation.
“The council has resolved to set up task force on food security. Government is quite concerned about the rising cost of food items and the fact that more often than not, even when these products are available and are in the market, they are sold at very exorbitant prices.
“So, the government has set up a task force on food security to ensure that an end is put to the wastages that occur and with tons and tons of produce lying fallow in farms or getting rotten in markets.
“It is an inter-ministerial committee made up of the ministers of agriculture, finance, water resources, transportation,’’ he said.
Mohammed said the task force, which has one week to submit its interim report to the Council, would suggest areas of intervention by the government.
He stated that the intervention could be in the area of subsidy in transportation.
He said: “This is being worked out, but this goes to show that government is very much concerned about the rising cost of food and we are responding to it.
“The committee, hopefully, is expected to report back to council next week, and concrete actions would be taken.
In his contribution, the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, disclosed that the council had approved the procurement of 10 new coaches to boost rail transportation on the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge railway.
Sirika said that the new coaches would enhance transportation of passengers and goods following the impending closure of the Abuja airport.
The minister revealed that the council also approved the construction of joint briefing offices in all 21 Federal Government airports across the country.
“The joint briefing offices will include the air automation and will co-locate the track-up projects, the total radar coverage, the air automation system, which include the pilot briefing offices.’’
The airport are that of Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ilorin, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Jos, Yola, Calabar, Enugu, Owerri, Kaduna, Benin, Osubi-Warri, Katsina, Zaria, Minna, Bauchi, Ibadan and Akure. (NAN)