Contrary to belief in some quarters that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may review its policy on fresh Foreign Exchange (FOREX) restrictions for food importation, the Apex Bank has said that there is no going back on the measure for the fact that the government took the initiative in the interest of the national economic growth and development.
The Bank said at the weekend ,that there the Federal Government will not reverse the decision because Nigeria wants to conserve its foreign exchange earnings as well as check the high rate of unemployment which has to some extent led to increase the rate of insecurity in the economy.
CBN, Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okoroafor said “There will never be an amendment because the issue is this, why should we be exporting jobs to other countries? Today we are complaining that there is a high rate of unemployment, leading to some extent of insecurity in the country, why should we allow people to import food that can be produced in the country?”
“The implementation started since 2015. We started by excluding 41 items; subsequently we included others, now we have eliminated all sorts of food import which we know that can easily be produced in Nigeria. The country cannot be food sufficient if we continue like this,” he said, adding that the new policy regime on food import restriction, the apex bank has revealed that the policy has since taken effect.
He said, “We need to improve wealth in our rural communities and I am saying we will not change course, we will even be more aggressive on this programme. The move is an attempt to stop the importation of items that Nigeria has the capacity to produce, stressing that the country’s foreign reserves should not be wasted on importing food items.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently instructed the CBN to stop providing foreign currency for food imports, according to a statement from his spokesman.
The Presidency has said the move was aimed at improving Nigeria’s agricultural production and attaining more food security with President Buhari adding , “Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country.”