The governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has disclosed that there are plans to place more food items on the forex restriction list.
Emefiele stated that there is need to add to the 42 food items placed on the list in order to save foreign exchange operations in Nigeria. He briefly reiterated the importance during his tour of the Dangote refinery and fertilizer project in Lekki, Lagos State.
The CBN had issued a forex restriction on selected food items back in 2015, to control Nigerians’ demand for hard currency dollar at a time when the recession was hitting hard and the economy was struggling.
“By the time we also add the 42 items that we have, which of course, certainly we are going to increase maybe to 50, in due course because we are going to be more aggressive in ensuring that food items that are being imported into this country, that more and more of them are added into the FX Restriction list.
“I’m saying by the time we add the savings from the production and export of petroleum products, by the time we also add the foreign exchange that we spend on food items, close to almost 55 to 60 per cent of what Central Bank or what the government spends in funding, the foreign exchange operations would have been saved in the country”, Emefiele stated recently.
Sourcing forex from Dangote Group
The Dangote Group would soon become a source for foreign exchange once its refinery and fertilizer facility begins operation, Godwin Emefiele made this known during his visit to the Refinery and fertilizer facility construction site.
Emefiele noted in his address that the refinery and fertilizer project, which is situated in Lekki Free Trade Zone, is expected to begin operation in 2020, serving as a major source for foreign exchange for Nigeria.
According to a ThisDay report, the CBN donated N75 million to support the refinery project and N50 billion to support the fertilizer project. In all, the fertilizer project will gulp $2 billion, while $9 billion is earmarked for the refinery project.
“I am sure by that time, the CBN will be begging Dangote to sell its dollars to the bank.
“We are ready to support in Naira and also ready to provide foreign exchange for any investor who is ready to support Nigeria’s transformational agenda”, He said.
Impact of Dangote’s refinery and fertilizer projects
The Dangote fertilizer project will position Nigeria as the largest exporter of fertilizer in Africa, and equal the rate of South Africa’s SAWSO in exporting petrochemicals in Africa when the plant is completed next year.
“The biggest problem that we have really is that Nigeria imports more than what we produce like any other African country. But by the time we finish the fertilizer plant, I think Nigeria will be the largest fertilizer exporting country in Africa, not even in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We will also be the largest exporter of petrochemicals, maybe head to head with South Africa because of SAWSO, and then we will be the biggest actually in Africa in exporting petroleum products.
“So the change in terms of importing 90 per cent of what we consume and also exporting about one third out of the country. So it’s a major transformation, and also the gas pipeline which we want to do is actually three billion – scope, which is equivalent to NLNG today, and these are all projects that I believe will transform the economy of Nigeria.”
Major source of employment for Nigeria
Aside from being a source of forex for Nigeria, Dangote and Emefiele disclosed the refinery and fertilizer project will create job opportunity for Nigerians. The construction of the project currently has 26,000 people, it is believed that after the completion, with the establishment of filling stations, the facility would have employed almost 80,000 people.