CBN confirms restricting forex for cassava, by-products

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he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it will no longer provide foreign exchange for the importation of cassava and its by-products.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank, made this known on Friday while briefing journalists on the decision of the monetary policy committee (MPC).

Some of the by-products that will be affected include starch and ethanol.

“Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava,” Emefiele said.

“If Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava then we should not allow people to say they want to import starch or they want to import ethanol or they want to import sorbitol into Nigeria.

“We will prevent them from doing so with all our might.”

At the last MPC meeting that held in July, the CBN governor had announced the bank’s intention to restrict forex for the importation of milk.

“We believe that milk is one of those products that can be produced in Nigeria. Milk importation has been going on in Nigeria for over 60 years. If you Google West African Milk or Friesland Campina today, they say that they have been importing milk and that they have been in Nigeria for over 60 years,” he said at the time.

“Today, the import of milk annually stands at $1.2-$1.5 billion. That is a very high import product into the country. Given that it is a product that we are convinced that it is a product that can be produced in Nigeria.

“The reason some say that our cows are not producing much milk is that our cows roam around, they don’t have water to drink.”

Since 2016, the CBN has been restricting forex for the importation of items it says can be produced in the country.

After an initial list of 41 items was released, the CBN has updated the list with fertilizer, milk, textile and now cassava.

Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that forex should not be made available for the importation of any food item.