The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said the apex bank will withdraw foreign exchange support for more items. He said this on Monday, August 19, 2019 in an interview with State House correspondents, on the side-line of the Presidential retreat for Ministers designate, at the Old Banquet Hall, Abuja.
The CBN Boss emphasized that the bank will not go back on the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari on food importation.
According to reports monitored by CobraReview, Emefiele, while responding to questions on the President’s directives, posited:
“Let me say this, Mr. President’s comment on the issuing of forex to people who import food items into the country, is in the logic of CBN’s management foreign exchange policies that we started since 2016. If you recall, we started with about 41 items (food and non-food items), because we believe that those items can be produced in the country. As we stand today, there are about 43 items on that list and I will say substantially most of them are food items”.
The Governor of the Central Bank added that since the country has ample land for food production, supporting importation of food with a diminishing foreign exchange reserve will amount to waste of scarce resources. He however cited that the ongoing debates about the impacts of the president’s directives, especially its implications on food availability at the right price for consumers, may have been taken out of context.
To buttress his point, the former Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank, also added that the new policy is geared towards creating employment opportunities in the country, as well as reducing the nation’s dependence on external food supplies.
When asked if the President’s directives would not affect the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, AfCFTA, Nigeria recently subscribed to, Emifiele said the agreement will not affect the content of the AfCFTA. He added that the important thing is that Nigeria maintains its position as the largest economy in Africa.
Although, the CBN Boss did not list the items to be denied FOREX, CobreReview learnt that the items cut across various industries.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 13, 2019 directed the nation’s apex Bank to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country. Nigerians are waiting to see how the new policy will impact prices of food.
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