FX restriction on food: Expert urges CBN not to be in haste for implementation

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AN Agric Economist, Mr Nnamdi Infenkwe, has urged the apex bank not to be in a haste to increase the list of food items banned from accessing foreign exchange in the country.

Infenkwe, Senior Manager at Nisi Agro Alide Services, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.

He said that an immediate increase in the list would lead to rise in prices of food stuffs because importers were not ready for it.

Infenkwe was reacting to a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari asking the Central Bank not to sell forex to persons in the business of importing food into the country.

President Buhari was quoted as informing the CBN of his position on Tuesday when governors elected on the platform of APC visited him in his country home in Daura, Katsina State to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir.

According to Buhari, Nigeria currently has enough food for its citizens following several reforms in the agriculture sector by his administration and that there was no need to continue to import the same into the country.

The President said that Nigeria’s foreign reserve should be conserved for the diversification of the economy.

Infenkwe said the presidential directive was commendable, but the policy, if immediately implemented, would bring more hardship to the ordinary Nigerians.

He said that the CBN, as an independent body, knew what to do.

According to him, the CBN needs to study the situation and allow more time for importers to transit adequately.

“A rush in the implementation will lead to artificial scarcity and exorbitant prices of food stuffs in the market.

“There is no doubt the restriction will conserve the country’s foreign reserves but before the implementation, there should be more home participation in agriculture.

“The government should continue to improve on the business environment so as to lure more agric companies into our shores such that over the years the country will be sufficient in food production,” he said.

NAN

– Aug. 15, 2019 @ 15:20 GMT |

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