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Buhari directs CBN to blacklist firms still importing palm oil

Photo: Guardian

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed
the Central Bank of Nigeria to blacklist any firm, its owner and top management
caught smuggling or dumping palm oil into the country.

The presidential directive was disclosed
by CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, at a meeting with oil palm producers on
Friday in Abuja.
Emefiele warned that henceforth, those
caught smuggling palm oil into the country would be blacklisted from all
banking businesses and would also be blocked from the foreign exchange market.
He said that this also included those who tried to smuggle in
palm oil through Customs as “hydrogenated vegetable fats”.
He disclosed that close to about N30 billion had already been
disbursed to those currently involved in oil palm farming.

The apex bank governor said that for
those coming newly into the oil business, credit facilities would be extended
to them through their banks and that Out-Grower schemes would also be
“We want to make everybody understand how serious we are and
also to emphasise that what we are doing to stop the importation of oil palm
into Nigeria is a presidential directive that must be adhered to.
“Doing this also means that while we are stopping the
importation of palm oil, we must do all possible to ensure that palm oil
production is aggressively
increased in Nigeria.
“Like you all know, and I never cease talking about it that
Nigeria in the 50’s and 60’s used to be the largest producer of oil palm in the
world with a market share of 40 per cent.
“For one reason or the other,
particularly because we found crude oil that even today by any analysis is
cheaper than palm oil, we decided to abandon our God-given gift – palm oil.
“By doing that we lost jobs, our farmers lost jobs because we
began to import palm oil from different parts of the world,” he said.
Emefiele said that the presidential directive also mandated CBN
to expand and provide support to firms and individuals that wanted to expand
the production of 10 different commodities in Nigeria.
The 10 products are rice, maize, cassava, tomatoes, cotton, oil
palm, poultry, fish, livestock and cocoa.
Edo Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, who was at the meeting, said
that 118,000 hectares of land had been identified for the oil palm programme in
the state.
He said that 115,000 hectares would be used for the actual
cultivation while three hectares would be used for infrastructure, including
“Oil palm and other value crops like rubber, cocoa were the base
on which the economy of this country was built at independence.
“If we are going to see real growth, we
need to go back to those products where we have relatively competitive and
comparative advantages.
“In the case of Edo, like I will say in the state, we have the
advantage of being the home of oil palm in the country,” he said. (NAN)

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