President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to blacklist from the banking system any firm, its owner and top management caught smuggling or dumping any of the 43 items that are not eligible for foreign exchange.
The Presidential directive was disclosed by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Friday in Abuja during a meeting with oil palm producers.
The meeting, which was held at the headquarters of the CBN, was attended by Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and the chief executives of companies operating in the oil palm sector of the economy.
Emefiele also said the presidential directive mandated the apex bank to provide support to firms and individuals that wanted to expand the production of ten different commodities in Nigeria.
The ten different products are rice, maize, cassava, tomatoes, cotton, oil palm, poultry, fish, and livestock dairy and cocoa.
The apex bank boss said that to achieve the presidential directive, the bank would also work to encourage viable off-taker agreements between farmers and large-scale palm producing companies.
He said, “We want to ensure palm oil production is aggressively increased in Nigeria. Nigeria in the 50s and 60s used to be the largest producer of oil palm in the world with a market share of 40 per cent.
“For one reason or the other, particularly because we found crude oil which by any analysis is cheaper than palm oil, we decided to abandon our God-given gift of palm oil. By doing that, we lost jobs.
“Our farm lost jobs because we began to import palm oil from different parts of the world.
“The presidential directive that we have received is not about palm oil alone. We have received a presidential directive to focus on the production of ten different commodities.
“And this is the programme we will be embarking upon in the next couple of years. The ten different products are rice, maize, cassava, tomatoes, cotton, oil palm, poultry, fish, livestock dairy and cocoa.
“The presidential directive that we received said that we must expand and seek to give support to people who want to expand the production of these products in Nigeria.
“Another part of that presidential directive also says that we should blacklist from the foreign exchange market and the banking industry all firms, their owners and their top management caught smuggling or dumping any of the restricted 43 items into Nigeria.”