Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has revealed that Nigeria’s monthly food import bill fell from $665.4m in January 2015 to $160.4m as of October 2018 saving $21bn.
He said the reductions in food import were recorded on rice, fish, milk, sugar and wheat and promised that the policy would be maintained.
“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,” he said as he spoke at the bankers’ dinner in Lagos.
“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.
“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.”
According to him, the CBN recently introduced the Real Sector Support fund; a facility meant to provide cheap funding at no more than nine per cent to new projects in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors; aimed at boosting output and creating jobs.
In the agriculture sector, he added that the Anchor Borrower Programme, had ensured that Nigeria emerged from being a net importer of rice to becoming a major producer of rice, supplying key markets in neighbouring countries.
According to him, a total number of 862,069 farmers cultivating about 835,239 hectares, across 16 different commodities, as of October 2018, had benefited from the Anchor Borrowers programme, which had generated 2,502,675 jobs across the country.