The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working to include sugar and wheat on the list of commodities that will be banned accessing foreign exchange (FX).

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele made this disclosure on Thursday in Awe, Nasarawa state during an inspection tour of the proposed $500 million Dangote sugar processing facility.

According to Emefiele: “We are looking at sugar and wheat. We started a programme on milk about two years ago. Eventually, these products will go into our FX restriction list.”

He declared the CBN “will provide not only the naira or some of the naira because Dangote is a big man and has equity he’s contributing to the project.

“Hopefully, within the next two years, we will provide that support. That is our interest here to reduce reliance on importation”.

CBN’s decision to include sugar and wheat on the FX restriction list, he said, is because “we spend $600m to $1 billion importing sugar into the country annually”.

Before adding the commodities to the FX restriction list, the CBN Governor said they “want to see to what extent we see the traction that is coming from those who are currently importing these items”.

He noted that “we must all work together to produce these goods in Nigeria rather than import them”.

On how much CBN was supporting the project with he said “we have made up our mind on how much we’ll put but of course as you heard from Dangote, the project is worth about $500 million. If you convert that to naira, you know how much that is. I know he’s going to commit some equities to it. From there, we will determine what is the shortfall and we will come in through intervention through the banks for whatever loan that is required for this”.

According to Emefiele: “Of course, foreign currency will be provided as long as it is for the importation of equipment for the project through the banks, for whatever loans that is required for this as long as it is for importation of equipment and we will gradually begin to restrict foreign exchange to those who want to import sugar until we achieve this result”.

President of Dangote Group Aliko Dangote said they have acquired 60,000 hectares of land in Awe, Nasarawa State to grow “up to one third of Nigeria’s sugar consumption, which is almost a million tonnes”.

The initial investment for this project, he said, is about $480,000-500,000.

The CBN, he said, will provide support to make it a reality.

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