The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has halted maize importers from accessing foreign exchange from among its services in order to protect local maize production, stimulate rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods and increase job creation.
The bank made this known in a circular addressed to authorized dealers and signed by O.S. Nnaji, director, of CBN’s Trade and Exchange Department.
Following the change, concern exists that importers will be forced to rely on supply from the parallel market to carry out their transactions.
“Accordingly, all authorized dealers are hereby requested to submit the list of Form M already registered for the importation of maize/corn using the attached format on or before the close of business on Wednesday 15, 2020,” the statement from CBN said .
The national chairman of the Maize Growers and Processors Association of Nigeria, Edwin Uche, explained that maize farmers in Nigeria can produce enough maize to meet the country’s needs if the government supports them with more incentives.
“We are capable of producing the needed quantity of maize in the country if the government can place a ban on maize importation and provide us with the necessary incentives such as financial aids, loans, fertilizer among others,” Uche added.
Abraham Godson, a former research supervisor at the International Institute of Topical Agriculture in Ibadan, said that continuous importation of agricultural produce that can be grown locally, such as maize, may further the depreciation of the naira and, in turn, the weakening of Nigeria’s economy and international purchasing power.
“A new strategic policy is urgently needed to reverse this trend. It should be geared towards modernizing agriculture through supply of agricultural machinery to farmers, improved seeds, agrochemicals to farmers, and a nationwide capacity building and training for those involved in agriculture,” Godson said.