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Saturday 11 July 2015

They all listen to Radio Biafra: CBN to support oil palm sector

Barely a week after pledging support for rice farmers and processing companies in Nigeria, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele,  has underscored the bank’s determination to lead the revitalisation of the oil palm sector in Nigeria in order to provide jobs for Nigerians.

Mr. Emefiele made the pledge in Abuja yesterday during a meeting between the bank’s management and oil palm value chain stakeholders to agree on a road map to resolve the challenges in the oil palm value chain in Nigeria.

He expressed concern at the contrasting fortunes of Nigeria from being the largest producer of palm oil worldwide in the late 1950s and 1960s, to becoming a net importer of the commodity from the 1980s to date.

According to him, Nigeria currently lags behind in a distant fifth position in world production, behind countries that many years ago sent emissaries to Nigeria to learn production techniques and to get their first seedlings.

Mr. Emefiele also decried the practice where huge amounts are spent to import items that could ordinarily be produced locally, the governor stressed the need for all stakeholders to collaborate to restore the glory days to the oil palm sector in the country.

While recalling the recent policy of the CBN that excluded 41 items from being procured with foreign exchange from the Nigerian foreign exchange markets (Interbank and BDCs), Mr. Emefiele reiterated that the policy measure was introduced to help conserve Nigeria’s foreign reserves as well as facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries and improve employment generation in the country.

He said the CBN decided to take the lead and play a major role in the resuscitation of the oil palm sector and decided to take a bold step and include palm kernel, palm oil Products and Vegetable Oils in the exclusion list of items not valid for foreign exchange at the Nigerian Foreign Exchange window.

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