Nairametrics has gathered that the recent ban of foreign exchange for food and fertilizer importers would not affect the 4 companies approved to import 262,000 tons of maize into Nigeria from August to October. The approved companies are using their own forex sources as the CBN will not be providing forex for the imports.
On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that food and fertilizer importers should not be given access to foreign exchange by the CBN, adding that the country would rather empower more local farmers, and use agriculture as a means to solve unemployment among youths.
“I am restating it that nobody importing food or fertilizer should be given foreign exchange from the Central Bank. We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import food or fertilizer. We will instead empower local farmers and producers,” the President said.
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria in July, directed all authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country. The CBN noted that the ban was necessitated in order to protect local production of maize, stimulate rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods and increase job creation.
However, Dr. Ikechukwu Kelikume, the Programme Director of the Lagos Business School Agribusiness programme, warned that the policy could further compound the woes of poultry farmers given that maize, which constitutes over 50 per cent of poultry feed content is currently very scarce, and where available, is very expensive, even as the price keeps rising.
Due to the high cost of poultry production after the ban on maize imports. President Muhammadu Buhari ordered last week that the Federal government will release 30,000 tons of maize from the national reserves to animal feed producers.
The Nigeria Customs Service also confirmed last week that 4 companies that have been given the CBN emergency approval to import 262,000 tons of maize into Nigeria.
The companies are Wacot Limited, Chi farms Limited, Crown Flour Mills Limited and Premier Feeds Company Limited.
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Bottom Line: Nairametrics gathered that the 4 approved companies are some of the biggest Maize traders in the country and will not be affected by the president’s ban on the importation of food items including maize. According to a reliable source from the CBN, the apex bank is not selling FX directly to the 4 companies, as the approved companies would source FX to import the maize directly from their cash reserves. The source added that the CBN picked companies that prioritize Backward Integration in Nigeria’s maize industry.