Amid Looming Food Scarcity, CBN Grants Emergency Waiver to 4 Companies for Maize Importation
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given an emergency approval to four companies for immediate maize importation, in a bid to cushion the effect of growing food insecurity in the country. This development was confirmed by the Deputy Controller-General of Customs, TM Isa, in a circular he addressed to the parties involved.
According to the circular, a copy of which was seen by Business Elites Africa, the emergency approval was given out of necessity. Apparently, the CBN is trying to strike a balance between local production and importation of essential food items in a bid to meet local demand.
“In line with the government’s policy on food security, sufficiency and striking a balance between food imports and local production capacities to meet anticipated shortfall, the Central Bank of Nigeria has granted approval for the underlisted companies to import maize in the quantities stated below,” part of the circular said.
The names of the four companies, quantity of maize they are allowed to import, and the banks to facilitate the transactions are enumerated below:
- Premier Feeds Mills Company Plc will import 120, 000 tons of maize. The needed forex for facilitate the transaction is to be made available by Zenith Bank Plc.
- Chi Farms Ltd will import 60,000 tons, to be facilitated by Titan Trust Bank.
- Wacot Limited will import 30,000 tons to be facilitated by City Bank, and another 30,000 tons facilitated by Titan Trust Bank
- Lastly, Crown Flour Mills Limited will import 22,000 tons to be facilitated by Coronation Merchant Bank
Recall that Nigeria’s apex bank had, in July this year, added maize to its list of 41 items that are banned from accessing forex on the official Importers and Exporters (I&E) window. Dealers were directed to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country. A circular that was issued in this regard cited four reasons for the decision, including the need to encourage local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods, and increase jobs.
It has been approximately two months since this decision was reached and the effects have become quite pronounced in terms of food scarcity. Even President Muhammadu Buhari had to acknowledge, yesterday, in a series of tweets that Nigeria is now struggling with food insecurity. He also noted that measures were being put in place to address the problem.
We are very mindful of the challenge of high food prices, at a time when the economy is already in a slowdown caused by the global coronavirus situation, and are doing everything in our power to bring down the prices of food items across the country.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) September 3, 2020
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