- Nigeria Saves $21 Billion by Reducing Food Importation
The Central Bank of Nigeria has said the nation’s monthly food import bill dropped from $665.4 million filed in January 2015 to $160.4 million in October 2018.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank, said reductions were recorded on fish, rice, milk, sugar and wheat during the period. The governor said the policy would be maintained.
He said, “Noticeable declines were steadily recorded in our monthly food import bill from $665.4m in January 2015 to $160.4m as at October 2018; A cumulative fall of 75.9 per cent and an implied savings of over $21bn on food imports alone over that period.”
“Most evident were the 97.3 per cent cumulative reduction in monthly rice import bills, 99.6 per cent in fish, 81.3 per cent in milk, 63.7 per cent in sugar, and 60.5 per cent in wheat.
“We are glad with the accomplishments recorded so far. Accordingly, this policy is expected to continue with vigour until the underlying imbalances within the Nigerian economy have been fully resolved.”
Speaking on ‘development finance’ at the bankers’ dinner in Lagos, the governor said the apex bank will continue to push for self-sufficiency to reduce excessive dependence on imports.
“We have maintained a particular focus on supporting farmers, entrepreneurs as well as small and medium scale businesses, through our various intervention programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers Program, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending and the National Collateral Registry,” he added.
According to the governor, the bank recently launched the Real Sector Support fund, a facility meant to provide an affordable loan at no more than nine per cent interest rate to the agriculture and manufacturing sectors in order to boost output and aid job creation.
He also mentioned the Anchor Borrower Programme introduced to support rice farmers.
This, he said has benefited a total of 862,069 farmers across 16 different commodities and created 2,502,675 jobs across the country. Thanks to the programme, Nigeria is now a major producer of rice, supplying key markets in neighbouring countries.
“It is in light of the success of the Anchor Borrowers Program with regards to cultivation of rice and maize that the Monetary Policy Committee in its last meeting on the 21st of November, 2018 recommended that the Anchor Borrowers program be applied to other areas such as palm oil, tomatoes and fisheries to mention a few,” Emefiele said.