Buhari directs CBN to halt forex sales for food, fertilizer importations
President Mohammadu Buhari on Thursday directed the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to sell foreign exchange to importers of food or fertilizer as the government move to protect local productions.
The president spoke at the National Food Security Council Meeting in Abuja, said the government will empower local farmers and producers of fertilizers rather than expending the country’s scarce forex resources on importations.
“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.
“We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work, and agriculture is the answer, the president said at the meeting.
The president said despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the decline in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of the year, “the agricultural sector continued to grow because of Government’s targeted agricultural policies.”
“I am pleased to note that most Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector. I want to assure you that this Government will continue to support these initiatives and many more to come.
“I am also mandating that while our key actors in the Agric space are championing increased hectares under cultivation, we need to pivot our attention and resources to how we can improve yield per hectare. This new shift will be a significant boost in our determination to strengthen our objective in achieving food security.
“To protect agricultural investments and boost confidence to our farmers we have deployed thousands of Agro-Rangers and integrated rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.
“We have invested in building our strategic grain reserves in recent years while we recently released significant quantities to cushion the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to vulnerable households and industries,” the president told the meeting.