The Presidency has denied reports stating that they have banned the importation of food into the country.
This clarification was given by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, in reaction to a Financial Times article which claims that President Buhari has placed a ban on the importation of food.
According to Garba Shehu, there is no such ban because importers of food materials are still allowed to source forex from CBN.
A statement issued reads:
“Your article ‘Muhammadu Buhari sparks dismay over policy shift on food imports’ (15 August) suggests the Nigerian Government is restricting the import of agricultural products into the country. This is simply incorrect. To be absolutely clear, there is no ban – or restriction – on the importation of food items whatsoever.
President Buhari has consistently worked towards strengthening Nigeria’s own industrial and agricultural base. A recent decision sees the CBN maintain its reserves to put to use helping growth of domestic industry in 41 products rather than provide forex for the import of those products from overseas.
Should importers of these items wish to source their forex from non-government financial institutions (and pay customs duty on those imports – increasing tax-take, something the FT has berated Nigeria for not achieving on many occasions) they are freely able to do so.
Diversification of forex provision towards the private sector and away from top-heavy government control, a diversification of Nigeria’s industrial base, and an increase in tax receipts – are all policies one might expect the Financial Times to support. Yet for reasons not quite clear, the author and this newspaper seem to believe the president’s administration seeks to control everything – and yet do so via policies that relinquish government control.
We look forward to the next instalment of Mr. Munshi’s bizarre and puzzling article series”.