President Buhari orders CBN to stop foreign exchange for food importation.
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country.
This is in a bid to ensure Nigeria attains food security.
A statement yesterday by one of the presidential spokesmen, Mallam Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as telling the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors, who went to Daura, in Katsina state (the President’s home town) to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir with him.
The President stated that the foreign reserves will be conserved and utilized strictly for diversification of the economy, and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food.
Quoting the President, “Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country,’’ he said. The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in December 2018, had said Nigeria’s monthly food import bill fell from $665.4 million in January 2015 to $160.4 million as of October 2018.
This implied savings of over $21 billion on food imports alone over that period. He had stated that the reductions in food import were recorded on Rice, Fish, Milk, Sugar and Wheat, adding that the policy would be maintained. “Most evident were the 97.3 per cent cumulative reduction in monthly Rice import bills, 99.6 per cent in Fish, 81.3 per cent in milk, 63.7 per cent in Sugar, and 60.5 per cent in Wheat,”.
The CBN Governor Emefiele had said this at the Bankers’ dinner in Lagos. According to the President, some states like Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano have taken advantage of the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture with huge returns in Rice farming.
He urged more states to embrace the ongoing revolution in agriculture to feed the nation. “We have achieved food security, and for physical security we are not doing badly,’’ he said. President Buhari said he was particularly delighted that young Nigerians, including graduates, had started exploring Agricultural business and Entrepreneurship, with many posting testimonies of good returns on their investments. He said the incoming ministers would be guided to meet the targets of the APC-led government for the people.
The President added that regular monitoring of the incoming ministers’ performances and scaling up of targets would be done by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. President Buhari gave the assurance of attending the Presidential Policy Retreat organized for the incoming ministers by the OSFG. He also called for compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that would directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.
This sudden policy change caught many people unaware. The implications of this policy and the discussions will be published on our website as time goes on. Already some analysts have expressed the opinion that smugglers of commodities like Rice, Vegetable Oil, Wheat and so many other inputs for Poultry and animal feed will have a field day. This kind of policy change is a smugglers delight. We shall see.
But we at Belvyna Global are of the opinion that as the President had made a policy announcement, the incoming Minister of Agriculture should work in tandem with the CBN and Ministry of Finance to implement policies to enhance and protect domestic production.
We always say that the ‘Farmer is King’. May he remain so.