Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s zero forex for food import order will be aggressively implemented.
Buhari had, last week, directed the CBN to stop providing Foreign Exchange for the importation of food into the country.
Speaking at the ongoing retreat for incoming ministers, Emefiele said President Buhari’s directive was in logic of the CBN’s management foreign exchange polices started since 2016.
“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. We are basically saying, if we have a food item that can be produced in the country, why should we waste scare foreign exchange importing those items into the country, when those can be produced in the country?
“It is important for me to say that the attempt to misrepresent the comments of Mr. President is very unfair and unfortunate. But what we will say from the CBN is that Mr. President has made this comment purely to strengthen the position of the CBN, to say that he believes in what the CBN has been doing since 2016 and there is need for us to reinforce that going forward.
“I will say that to be honest, we would aggressively go more into the list of items that are being imported into the country, items that can be produced in Nigeria.
” I will like to stress that we would ensure that more of these items will get on the list of items that are going to be restricted from accessing foreign exchange in Nigerian banking industry not just from the CBN source. Because, I have heard some comments that maybe it’s about the CBN’s source. It is not the CBN’s source, we are saying you will not be able to access foreign exchange from the Nigerian banking industry because it is important for us to produce these items in Nigeria and we will follow through on them,” he said.