The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday declared its preparedness to provide loans to investors who are interested in tapping into its milk production initiative.
This announcement followed the restriction placed on foreign exchange by the apex bank as part of efforts to reduce milk importation into the country.
The Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, announced the plan on the bank’s Twitter handle – @cenbank, adding that it is determined to end milk importation in Nigeria and provide adequate loans.
“We are determined to make milk production in Nigeria a viable economic proposition. If you need a loan to acquire land, do artificial insemination, grow grass or even provide water, we will give you. We are getting to the end of the road of milk importation in Nigeria” -Emefiele
— Central Bank of Nigeria (@cenbank) July 29, 2019
The CBN chief had said last week that milk and other dairy products makers would be restricted from accessing foreign exchange both at the official and parallel markets and urged investors to invest in ranches.
- Meanwhile, Emefiele’s statement has generated controversy across the country as a section of the media had reported that the apex bank had banned importation of milk and other dairy products into Nigeria.
- The announcement also drew criticisms as big operators in the industry expressed concerns and felt coerced to participate in the proposed policy. Many insisted that the bank failed to check the existing business model that would be suitable for their businesses.
- Following this, the apex bank broke the silence on Friday, saying milk importation is not banned contrary to widespread reports across the country.
“For the avoidance of doubt, milk importation is not banned. Indeed, the CBN has no such power. All we will do is to restrict the sale of forex for the importation of milk from the Nigerian foreign exchange market,” the apex bank said in a statement.
Provision of loan: The latest announcement by the CBN is basically a follow-up on its disclosure in a statement last week that funds would be provided to investors who are genuinely ready to engage in milk production.
“We wish to reiterate that we remain ready and able to provide the needed
finance to enable investors who genuinely want to engage in milk production.
“We are saying that the amount we spend on the importation of milk in this country is too high, we need to reduce it.”
The bottom line: While the apex bank is yet to officially release the modalities on the special funds provided for the initiative, investors are expected to start preparing their business plans in order to key into the policy aimed at ending milk importation in Nigeria.