CBN adds cassava derivatives to import restriction list

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele on Thursday told state governors that the bank has started to restrict granting foreign exchange to importers of cassava derivative products.

Emefiele who hosted about 18 governors and two deputy governors at a meeting where they discussed how the apex bank will help them in boosting their economies and creating massive employments reeled out intervention programmes in the 10 product priority areas including cotton, dairy, textile, cassava, oil palm, livestock, rice, tomato, maize poultry.

While saying that the economy had witnessed consistent growth since exiting recession in the second quarter of the second quarter of 2017 but that it had been fragile growth.

He lamented a situation whereby population growth was outstripping economic growth and that something positive must be done to improve the situation.

According to Emefiele, “the Bank’s initiatives to enhance agricultural development are focused on boosting the production of identified agricultural commodities that have high growth enhancement impact, create jobs, improve the capacity of industries, conserve foreign exchange has taken new dimensions.

He said “although Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava tubers with 53 million mt per annum, the yield per hectare averaging 20 tonnes/ha is very low compared to other jurisdictions.

“In addition, the country imports cassava derivatives with over $600 million each year.

“The cassava initiative of the Bank is to improve cassava productivity, stabilize prices and encourage local processing to generate employment.

“Indeed, we have begun to restrict foreign exchange to those who want to import cassava, starch, ethanol and all other derivatives into Nigeria”, he declared.

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On cotton, Emefiele said efforts to revive the cotton, textile and garment (CTG) sector through Anchor Borrowers Programme had commenced with the cultivation of 200,000 ha of hybrid cotton distributed to 200,000 farmers in 26 States in the country namely: Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Oyo, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Kwara, Niger, Kogi, Benue, Cross River, Edo, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun and Lagos.

He appealed to the governors to take advantage of the various development finance initiatives in its 11 focal crops including poultry, cotton, cassava, oil palm, dairy, cotton, livestock, oil palm, tomato, maize and rice to create jobs and expand their economies.

Governor of Benue State, Samuel urged the bank to also intervene in the energy sector, saying that the power situation was hindering industrial development of the country.

Also, Babajude Sanwoolu of Lagos appealed to Emefiele to also look into delivering farm products to consumers by giving loans to investors interested in establishing warehouses and cold rooms,

Similarly, Governor of Borno State, Prof. Zana Zulum asked the apex bank to help struggling states to reschedule their irrevocable standing payment orders so that they will have allowances to invest in agriculture and other investments.

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