The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has declared its preparedness to provide loans to investors who are interested in tapping into its milk production initiative. This announcement followed the restriction placed on access to foreign exchange by the apex bank in order to reduce milk importation in the country.
The Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, hinted at the financing plan of the apex bank on Monday, via the bank’s Twitter handle, adding that it is determined to end milk importation in Nigeria and provide adequate loans.
“We are determined to make milk production in Nigeria a viable economic proposition. If you need a loan to acquire land, do artificial insemination, grow grass or even provide water, we will give you. We are getting to the end of the road of milk importation in Nigeria” -Emefiele
Recent development: Earlier last week, the CBN Chief disclosed to operators in the industry that milk and some other dairy products would be restricted from accessing foreign exchange, both at the official and parallel markets and urged investors to invest in ranches.
Meanwhile, there was controversy surrounding the disclosure, as a section of the media reported that the CBN had banned the importation of milk and other dairy products in Nigeria.
The announcement also generated widespread criticisms, as big operators in the industry expressed concerns and felt coerced to participate in the proposed policy. Many stressed that the bank failed to check the existing business model that would be suitable for their businesses.
Following this, the apex bank broke the silence on Friday, disclosing that milk importation is not banned as against widespread reports.
“For the avoidance of doubt, milk importation is not banned. Indeed, the CBN has no such power. All we will do is to restrict the sale of forex for the importation of milk from the Nigerian foreign exchange market.”
Provision of loan: The latest announcement made by the CBN is basically a follow-up on its disclosure in a press release last week that funds would be provided to investors who are genuinely ready to engage in milk production.
“We wish to reiterate that we remain ready and able to provide the
finance to enable investors who genuinely want to engage in milk production.
“We are saying that the amount we spend on the importation of milk in this country is too high, we need to reduce it.”
The bottom line: While the apex bank is yet to officially release the modalities of the special funds provided for the initiative, investors may be expected to start preparing their business plans in order to key into the policy targeted at ending milk importation in Nigeria.