James Emejo, Sonia Mayomi in Abuja and Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday revealed that the importation of wheat costs the country about $2 billion annually, thereby exerting pressure on the country’s food import bill.
This is just as the CBN has stated that the much-awaited Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the eNaira would improve monetary policy effectiveness and enhance government’s capacity to deploy targeted social interventions and boost remittances through formal channels.
Also, in what appears to be a setback for the country’s cashless policy, a Federal High Court in Awka, has said it was not proper for the CBN as a federal institution to adopt discriminatory policies in its operations.
Commenting on the country’s food import bill, the central bank stated that wheat was its second highest contributor with over five million Metric Tons (MT) imported yearly.
The apex bank however, restated its commitment to addressing the existing challenges in the wheat value chain as part of efforts to shore up the country’s foreign reserves.
This was made known by the CBN Director, Development Finance Department, Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf, at the Wheat Conference and Stakeholder Engagement, with the theme: “Improving and Sustaining the Wheat Value Chain Development in Nigeria,” in Abuja.
He noted that the wheat value chain had enormous potential for ground-breaking impact in the agricultural sector, adding that the central bank would focus attention on the commodity value chain for 2021/2022 dry season planting following the sustainable progress made across the rice and maize value chain.
The CBN director, further estimated that only one per cent or 63,000MT of wheat, out of the 5-6 MT consumed annually, was produced locally.