The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has added milk and dairy products to the list of items not eligible for forex.
Six companies are exempted from the restriction, the apex bank said in a circular issued by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji.
The bank listed the companies as Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria, Chi Limited, TG Arla Dairy Products Limited, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Nestle Nigeria PLC (MSK only) and Integrated Dairies Limited.
The bank explained that the development was in line with its objective to increase and improve the local production of milk, its derivatives and other dairy products in the country.
Similarly, all Forms ‘M’ for the importation of milk and its derivatives by authorised dealers will only be allowed for the aforementioned companies.
Form ‘M’ is a mandatory statutory document to be completed by all importers for importation of goods into Nigeria.
It is therefore, mandatory for all importers to complete and register Form ‘M’ with authorised dealers at the time of placing orders whether the transaction is valid for foreign exchange or not.
The bank advised importers not on the list of companies cited in the circular to cancel all established Forms ‘M’ for the importation of milk and its derivatives for which shipment has not taken place.
The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor explained that the bank engaged the six companies because they showed sufficient willingness and ability.
Okorafor said the listed companies had adopted the CBN’s backward integration programme in order to enhance their capacity and improve local milk production.
He explained that the objective of the bank in that sector is to increase milk production from the current figure of 500,000 metric tonnes to about 550,000 metric tonnes within the next 12 months.
In addition to facilitating easier access to funding for dairy investors, he said it is the bank’s desire to ensure that the country conserves foreign exchange, trigger economic growth and boost employment opportunities in the sector.
It would be recalled that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had confirmed plans to restrict forex for milk importation in July 2019, saying the bank is convinced that the product can be manufactured in Nigeria.
In August 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the apex bank to restrict forex for food importation, saying the directive is to ensure steady improvement in agricultural production and attainment of full food security.