Bello flags off sale of grains at 50% discount
By Ummi Ismaeel
Governor Sani Bello of Niger State has flagged off the sale of assorted grains at 50 per cent subsidized rate to the citizenry particularly the less privileged Moslems who cannot afford basic meals due to high cost of food items.
The flag-off of the sale of staple food items is coming against the backdrop of refusal by food stuff dealers to heed earlier pleas by Governor Sani Bello to resist temptations of increasing the cost of food items during the Ramadan fast.
During the flag-off which held at the state Supply Company, Minna on Tuesday, Governor Bello represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso, said that the grains were to be sold at 50 percent less than the current market price.
The sale of the food items which included rice, maize and millet simultaneously at designated centres across the headquarters of 274 wards of the state, Bello said is part of the administration’s palliative measure to save citizens from hunger.
Despite pleas to maintain ‘reasonable’ cost of items, Governor Bello said that he was not happy that traders especially those dealing in different kinds of food stuff have continued to affect arbitrary hike in prices of food items across major markets in the state.
“We feel the pains of our people and that is why we made it a priority to embark on the sale of 1, 580 metric tonnes of millet, rice and maize at highly subsidized rate for the benefit of Nigerlites across the 25 local government councils”, Bello said.
He said, “The purpose of this intervention is a result of our commitments towards ensuring food security and as well bringing respite to the people amidst soaring food prices in our markets especially during the Ramadan fasting period”.
Adequate plans are also in place to ensure that the food items are not diverted but ‘‘we will ensure the food items are distributed to all the wards for sale to members of the public at the subsidised rate as approved by the government.’’
Government will continue with public sale of grains until the economic situation improves, Bello said and directed officials in council areas and other handlers to ensure that modalities for the sale of the items be strictly in accordance with measurements used in the markets.
The governor who appealed to dealers in food items to be compassionate on the plight of citizens however warned that government would not tolerate any act of sabotage or compromise in the sales of the food items. “Everyone involved in the distribution and sales should be transparent and accountable as much as possible”.
Bello however emphasized that, “The food items are meant for the entire citizenry, there should be no compromise. Nobody is allowed to buy more than five mudus of rice and 10 mudus of either millet or maize”.