Presidency Clears Air On Ban Of Food Importation

President Muhammadu Buhari has not banned or restricted food importation into the country, the Presidency said on Sunday. The President on Tuesday in Daura, Katsina State, said he had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country. However, the statement has been misconstrued as…”
Yusuf
August 19, 2019 9:16 am

President Muhammadu Buhari has not banned or restricted food importation into the country, the Presidency said on Sunday.

The President on Tuesday in Daura, Katsina State, said he had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country.

However, the statement has been misconstrued as a blanket ban on importation of food.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Sunday faulted such  interpretation.

Financial Times, a London-based publication alluded to this in a report on August 15, titled: “Muhammadu Buhari sparks dismay over policy shift on food imports.”

But the Presidency explained that importers of the food items are still free to source their forex from non-government financial institutions towards meeting their importations.

The President’s directive, he said, only has to do with forex from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Presidency’s letter reads: “Your article ‘Muhammadu Buhari sparks dismay over policy shift on food imports’ (15 August) suggests the Nigerian Government is restricting the import of agricultural products into the country. This is simply incorrect. To be absolutely clear, there is no ban – or restriction – on the importation of food items whatsoever.

“President Buhari has consistently worked towards strengthening Nigeria’s own industrial and agricultural base. A recent decision sees the CBN maintain its reserves to put to use helping growth of domestic industry in 41 products rather than provide forex for the import of those products from overseas.

“Should importers of these items wish to source their forex from non-government financial institutions (and pay customs duty on those imports – increasing tax-take, something the FT has berated Nigeria for not achieving on many occasions) they are freely able to do so.

“Diversification of forex provision towards the private sector and away from top-heavy government control, a diversification of Nigeria’s industrial base, and an increase in tax receipts – are all policies one might expect the Financial Times to support. Yet for reasons not quite clear, the author and this newspaper seem to believe the president’s administration seeks to control everything – and yet do so via policies that relinquish government control.

“We look forward to the next instalment of Mr. Munshi’s bizarre and puzzling article series.” he stated

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