The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to suspend accounts of corporate entities and supply chain enablers involved in smuggling palm oil and its products into the country.
Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank, was speaking during the inauguration of the Edo oil palm programme in Benin on Tuesday.
He also threatened to suspend the account of any person hiding under the ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme to sabotage the federal government’s investment in reviving the palm oil sector.
He said the Nigerian palm oil industry was at a crossroad because the economy is threatened by inadequate local production and continued reliance on imports.
He noted that the CBN, under its Oil Palm Development and Expansion Initiative, had so far disbursed N30 billion to the oil palm sector.
He said the disbursement is monitored to ensure efficient and effective utilisation and maximum output while oil majors and apex associations are being encouraged to adopt the out-grower scheme.
“The journey to revive the oil palm sector began with the discovery that over $500 million of our scarce foreign exchange was being expended on the importation of palm oil to meet identified unmet demand gap of 1.25 million metric tons,” Emefiele said.
“The country’s total domestic palm oil demand and consumption stood at 2.5 million with the local production capacity of 1.25 million metric tons only.”
Speaking at the event, Godwin Obaseki, the Edo state governor, said the principal goal of the Edo oil palm programme is to leverage on the CBN initiative.
He said the state government had legislated and created access to about 120,000 hectares of land strictly for oil palm development.
He projected that the programme would have created employment for 600,000 people by 2030.
Source: TheCableNG

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