Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, speaks at the Nigeria Capital Markets and Banking Forum. Chris J Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

CBN imposes forex restrictions on importation of sugar, wheat

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has imposed foreign exchange, forex, restriction on the importation of sugar and wheat into the country.

“Sugar and Wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them,” the CBN announced in its verified Twitter account.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of CBN, had given an hint of the ban during an inspection tour of the proposed $500 million Dangote sugar processing facility in Nasarawa State on Thursday.

“We are looking at sugar and wheat. We started a programme on milk about two years ago. Eventually, these products will go into our FX restriction list,” Emefiele said.

He said CBN’s decision to place sugar and wheat on the FX restriction list is because “we spend $600 million to $1 billion importing sugar into the country annually”, and “we must all work together to produce these goods in Nigeria rather than import them”.

Emefiele also said the apex bank will support Dangote’s sugar facility project, adding that the interest is to reduce reliance on importation.

In his remarks, Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote Group, said 60,000 hectares of land have been acquired in Awe, Nasarawa, to grow “up to one-third of Nigeria’s sugar consumption, which is almost a million tonnes”.

On March 26, 2021, CBN said it was working to increase local wheat production and reduce importation by 60 percent within a two-year timeframe.

Meanwhile, the CBN has further shed light on allegations that it printed N60 billion in March to support federal allocation to states.

Governor Godwin Obaseki had claimed that the CBN printed the funds to augment what the three tiers of government shared in March.

But reiterating the denial earlier made by the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, CBN said it merely lent the government money as a form of support.

“The concept of printing of money is about lending money and that is our job…It will be irresponsible for the CBN or any Central Bank or Fed to stand idle and refuse to support its government at a time like this,” the apex bank said in the tweet.

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