The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans adding sugar and wheat on the list of commodities banned from accessing foreign exchange (FX).
With the inclusion of wheat and sugar, the number of produce banned from accessing FX will be 43. The measure is geared towards stimulating local growth of these produce and conserving the country’s scarce foreign exchange.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele disclosed this on Thursday in Awe, Nasarawa State during an inspection tour of the proposed $500 million Dangote sugar processing facility.
Emefiele said: “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.
CBN’s decision to include sugar and wheat on the FX restriction list he said was because Nigeria spends $600m to $1 billion importing sugar into the country annually.
Before adding the commodities to the FX restriction list, the CBN Governor said they ‘want to see to what extent we see the traction that is coming from those who are currently importing these items”’.
He noted that all hands must be on deck to produce these goods in Nigeria rather than import them.
On how much CBN was supporting the project with, he said: “We have made up our mind on how much we’ll put but of course as you heard from Dangote, the project is worth about $500 million. If you convert that to naira, you know how much that is. I know he’s going to commit some equities to it. From there, we will determine what is the shortfall and we will come in through intervention through the banks for whatever loan that is required for this”.
According to Emefiele, “of course, foreign currency will be provided as long as it is for the importation of equipment for the project through the banks, for whatever loans that is required for this as long as it is for importation of equipment and we will gradually begin to restrict foreign exchange to those who want to import sugar until we achieve this result”.