Governor Godwin Emefiele of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has revealed that Nigeria’s monthly food import bill fell from $665.4 million in January 2015 to $160.4 million as of October 2018.
According to Emefiele, the reductions in food import recorded on rice, fish, milk, sugar and wheat, within the 34 months, helped Nigeria saved $21 billion.
The CBN boss made this known at the most recently-held dinner of the apex bank.
“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.
“Most evidents 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.” Emefiele was quoted.
While speaking on development finance, he said that in continued recognition of its role as an agent of development and aimed at ensuring self-sufficiency to reduce Nigeria’s excessive dependence on imports, the CBN invigorated its development finance activities.
Emefiele said the apex bank has since been maintaining a particular focus on supporting farmers, entrepreneurs as well as small and medium scale businesses, through its 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, Emefiele 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.