…disburses N30bn for production, plantation expansion
By Etuka Sunday
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that its economic intelligence department has started investigating the accounts of those involved in smuggling and dumping of palm oil into Nigeria, so as to blacklist them.
This was part of Nigeria’s oil palm industry development initiative aimed at actualizing the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
The CBN’s Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele who disclosed this in Abuja at a meeting with some state governors, farmers and stakeholders in the palm oil industry, said, the meeting was part of CBN’s efforts to develop the oil palm industry value chain.
Mr Emefiele announced clearly to the palm oil industry stakeholders that the move to stop the importation of palm oil into the country was a Presidential directive, saying that the Fiscal and Monetary authorities are desirous of creating jobs, in catalysing the economy through expansion of Agricultural productivity across the country.
‘‘The Presidential directives that we have received is not about palm oil alone, we have received Presidential directives to focus on the production of Rice, Maize, Cassava, Tomatoes, Cotton, Oil Palm, Poultry, Fish, Livestock and Cocoa.
‘‘The Presidential directives that we received said that we must expand, give support to people who want to expand the production of those products in Nigeria. Another part of that Presidential directive also said that we should blacklist, cut the foreign exchange market on the banking industry, all the firms, their owners and top management smuggling and dumping any of the restricted 43 items into Nigeria.
‘‘I want to let you know that we are going to work very aggressively on this mandate. Our economic intelligence department has started investigating the accounts of those of you who are involved in smuggling, dumping palm oil into Nigeria. We feel that before any actions are taken, we must invite you and draw the line that importation of palm oil into Nigeria must stop. This also means that we must as CBN or Deposit Money Bank create an opportunity for you to access credit to grow your plantation. We are saying that we will not allow any further importation into Nigeria,” he said.
The apex bank governor said, that the sum of N30billion has so far been disbursed to some of those who are currently involved in oil palm production to expand their plantation, adding that the next step would be those who are coming newly into the oil palm plantation business to access credit facilities from their banks, while focusing on the out growers scheme.
He explained that, apart from giving support to those interested in industrial production i.e large scale production, support would equally be extended to out growers scheme to be developed under some of the large companies.
“We know that certain families in the rural communities owned lands particularly in the South-South, South-East and North-Central part of the country. That rather than their lands be taken away from them, that we encourage them under the out growers scheme. They will be provided with seedling, fertilizer and chemical over the period of four years. People are going to be working, earning stipends. After they cultivate those lands, we will now get PZ to take over those proceeds from them, pay them while they pay up their loans.
“We are going to do more of that, but there are going to be anchored under some of the large scale producers whether is PZ, Okomo, Presco and the rest of them. The state governments have made their commitment, today is the programme where we going to match the lands available from the state governments with those who want to invest,” he said.
The event also has in attendance the Executive Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and the representatives of other state governors.