Buhari Backs CBN, Bans Sale Of FX to Food Importers

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday got the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari to stop sale of foreign exchange for importation of food into the country, even as experts say such directive impinges on the autonomy of the apex bank as guaranteed by an enabling law.
Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu announced the directive via his personal twitter handle, said Buhari spoke while hosting state governors elected on the platform of his party- the All Progressives Congress (APC) to Eid-el-Kabir lunch at his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
The move, he recalled the President as saying, will help the nation conserve its scarce foreign reserve, which will be used strictly to diversify Nigeria’s economy, rather than continued dependence on foreign food import bills.
This seems some support for CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is still under attacks from some members of the Organised Private Sector, who see his recent addition of dairy products to the list of items banned from the official foreign exchange window as ill-advised.
Shehu reported the President as basing his directive to the CBN on the steady improvement in agricultural production, & attainment of full food security, noting “that some states like Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano had already taken advantage of the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture with huge returns in rice farming, urging more states to plug into the ongoing revolution to feed the nation.”
He quoted the President as stressing “we have achieved food security, and for physical security we are not doing badly.”
President Buhari said he was particularly delighted that young Nigerians, including graduates, had started exploring agric-business and entrepreneurship, with many posting testimonies of good returns on their investments, Shehu added.
President Buhari, he stressed, assured that the incoming ministers will be “taught’’ and thoroughly guided to ensure they meet the targets of the APC-led government for the people, with regular monitoring of their performances and scaling up of targets by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
The President assured that he will attend the Presidential Policy Retreat organized for the ministers by the OSFG, and insisted on compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that will directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians, he further noted.
Commenting on the directive, Shehu quoted the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, as saying the President’s sense of justice, fairness and forthrightness had turned a major inspiration to governors on the way forward for the country.
He said the challenges faced by states “were enormous’’, but the governors had remained undaunted, assuring the President of strong support and “the very best effort’’ to overcome all the obstacles.