Emefiele dismisses possibility of lifting maize import ban

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr
Godwin Emefiele has on Thursday dismissed the
possibility of lifting the current import ban placed
on maize.
On the same day, Rice Processors Association of
Nigeria (RIPAN) disagreed with a directive by
Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public
Petitions to Nigeria Customs Service to return
imported rice carted away during midnight raids on
markets in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Emefiele who reportedly spoke in Katsina during
the unveiling of the first maize pyramid and flag-off
of the 2021 Maize wet season farming under the
CBN Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) Anchor
Borrowers’ Programme expressed belief that
Nigerian youth could leverage their talents, along
with technological tools to improve farm
productivity and delivery of agricultural produce to
markets.
According to a statement, Emefiele said CBN would
resist attempts by those who seek to continually
import maize into the country, noting that maize
farmers in Nigeria had what it takes to close the
maize demand gap of over 4.5 million metric
tonnes in the country.
“With over 50,000 bags of maize available on this
ground, and others aggregated across the country,
maize farmers are sending a resounding message
that “we can grow enough maize to meet the
country’s demand,’” he declared.
He expressed belief that Nigerian youth could
leverage their talents, along with technological tools
to improve farm productivity and delivery of
agricultural produce to markets. According to him,
groups of youth with contiguous land for farming
are eligible to seek the Bank’s support through the
CBN prime anchor arrangement.
“The CBN will not only provide access to credit for
these youths but will also provide guarantees that
their produce will be purchased by a prime anchor
at agreed prices,” the Governor assured.
According to him, CBN was leading agricultural
revolution because the impact of monetary policy
measures would be limited, if the monetary
authority in collaboration with the fiscal authorities
failed to address some of the structural constraints
that limit productivity in key sectors of our
economy such as agriculture.
Emefiele disclosed CBN and MAAN sought to
increase the target hectarage for 2021 to 500,000
ha from the 2020 target of 250,000 ha, adding that
to achieve the target, the Bank sought to introduce
the use of contiguous land, high yielding seeds,
mechanisation, leveraging technology for land
mapping and monitoring as well as expanding the
Strategic Maize Reserve (SMR). So far, he said the
Bank had released 100,000 metric tonnes of maize
to the market, through the major producers.
Speaking at the event, The Emir of Katsina,
AbdulMumin Kabir, bemoaned the security situation
in the area and therefore pleaded for serious
interventions in order encourage farming activities
and sustain the success recorded so far.
Commending the CBN for injecting N50 billion into
the Commodity Exchange initiative, the President,
Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Bello
Abubakar, said MAAN had recorded about 80 per
cent loan recovery rate since the association began
to participate in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme
in 2017.
He nevertheless urged farmers to repay their loans
to enable others also benefit from the scheme.
Speaking in Abuja, Director-General of RIPAN, Andy
Ekwelem said members of the association were
shocked and disappointed by the Senate
Committee directive as it was against the policy of
the government to check the importation of
smuggled rice.
“This instruction / directives from the Senate to the
Nigeria Customs Services portend dire
consequences for the Nigerian economy and her
people especially current investors, potential
investors and Youths.
“It is worrisome that the legislative chamber whose
responsibility it is to protect them are the ones
unwittingly undoing the efforts.
“Now that smugglers are being protected,
encouraged and emboldened, we can be sure that
these efforts are in dire risk. No economy can
survive under this kind of circumstance

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