Industry experts including economic, public policy analysts and commentators have advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to consider consulting stakeholders before effecting the ban on access to Foreign Exchange (forex) for milk importers.
The experts made their opinions known to the public at the fourth edition of Regulatory Conversation, with the theme: “Foreign Exchange Restrictions on Food Imports and Implications for Regulating and Growing the Nation’s Economy.”
Speaking on the policy, the Publisher of BusinessDay, Frank Aigbogun said it was a necessity for the Central Bank to consult stakeholders before considering any implementation, particularly on the forex ban on milk importation.
Aigbogun’s words: “There should be more consultation, and in the process of the consultation, there should be a consensus that this policy is indeed the right one for Nigeria at this particular time. I believe that that is not flexible enough. People should be given time to make the investment because we are talking about private sector investment here.
“People will need to do feasibility studies; they need to look at the entire value chain so that they will position themselves; they will need to look at things around packaging; they will need to then raise capital. Surely, they haven’t been given time to do that. And so, my submission is this: there is a lot that is wrong with this policy. Even if the goal of the objective can be understood, we are going about it in a very wrong way.”
Similar to Aigbogun’s statement, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf said the forex ban was causing a great disruption, adding that it was alarming that the apex bank was considering more items to be on the list with forex restriction.
Yusuf said, “We have a situation whereby the CBN has taken over the matters of our trade markets. It is a major problem and it is causing great disruption. The policy is a game on Forex and we should let it go. The CBN is even telling us that more items will come on that list.”
For Olusoji Apampa, the director and consultant for the Convention on Business Integrity, the forex ban would lead to a situation where dairy companies would start regressing with their value chain. Apampa further expressed that the new policy would lead to “accentuated pain for the poor without palliative or remedy.”
Apampa, however, noted in his presentation that the forex ban would lead to the improvement in the market access for herdsmen, reduction in the farmer/herdsmen clashes, creation of more jobs locally, and savings on forex.
Note that other speakers at the forum include the founder of Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi; member of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Oluwasegun Oshindipe; official of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Sussy Onwuka; and Chairman of Proshare and moderator of the discussion, Olufemi Awoyemi.
Meanwhile, Nairametrics had reported that the CBN had finally initiated moves to implement the ban of forex access to milk importers.