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CBN mulls forex ban on sugar, wheat importation

CBN mulls forex ban on sugar, wheat importation
April 15
18:44 2021

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is planning to include sugar and wheat on the list of import items banned from accessing foreign exchange (FX).

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

In 2015, the apex bank restricted 41 items from accessing foreign exchange, adding that the measure was to encourage local production of the items and conserve Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

Some of the banned items are rice, cement, margarine, palm produce, beef, vegetables, poultry and eggs, wooden doors and iron rods — including maize which was banned in 2020.

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“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.

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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.

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