Mixed reactions trail Buhari’s directive to CBN on food importation

Mixed reactions trail Buhari’s directive to CBN on food importation

- President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt forex for food importation has elicited mixed feelings from stakeholders

- One stakeholder, while lauding the directive, implored the federal government to strengthen local industries in order to satisfy domestic demand

- Another stakeholder insisted that Nigeria shouldn’t consider restricting forex for food importation as the country has enough infrastructure deficit

President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt forex for food importation has elicited mixed feelings from stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

While commending the president over the fact that the move could encourage local production, some stakeholders, however, pointed out that the development could have some negative effects on the economy immediately, Tribune reports.

Legit.ng gathers that while lauding the directive, the chairman of Harvest Feeds Agro-Processing, Goke Adeyemi, implored the federal government to strengthen local industries in order to satisfy domestic demand.

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He said: “For me, I think it’s a good directive; our president has taken a very good step which will encourage our food security program in Nigeria, but going beyond that, we need to increase our local industries to process the agricultural produce into intermediate and final products.

“There are still some aspect of that we need to work on, the presidential directive is good, but the next step should be to stimulate, encourage and accelerate local industries to process agricultural produce into intermediate and final product that will be consumed by Nigerians and even exported to other parts of Africa.”

In the same vein, Chief Eric Ozongwu, the national chairman, National Association of Grain Storage Practitioners of Nigeria, said Buhari acted rightly by issuing such directive; but cautioned that there might be massive smuggling of food through the porous land borders as a result of the directive.

Ozongwu added that the naira may witness a drastic fall below the dollar as a result of the immediate enforcement of the directive.

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He said: “It is a good development, but the fact remains that it has to be gradual because the importer will now leverage on the fact that our borders are porous. What will not come in through the normal border will now come through the illegal borders.

“It will also affect the demand on forex in the black market, and it may cause the shooting up of dollars against the Naira.

“But in the long run, it will be something good because we have what it takes to produce what we eat, but for the fact is that our people don’t show much interest in agriculture.”

Infrastructure should be put in place to assist local production before the president issues such directive, says another stakeholder in agriculture mechanization, Mrs Patience Yusuf.

She insisted that Nigeria shouldn’t consider restricting forex for food importation as the country has enough infrastructure deficit.

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Shehu Sani, rights activist and former senator who represented Kaduna Central at the upper legislative chamber, expressed support for President Buhari's directive to the CBN regarding food importation.

Sani, in a tweet on his official Twitter handle, @ShehuSani, on Wednesday, August 14, said the president's directive asking the CBN to stop providing foreign exchange for food importation "is the right step forward".

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Source: Legit.ng

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