Obasanjo Criticises CBN Removal Of FX Restriction On Imported Poultry Products

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the removal of the forex restrictions on poultry products by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will negatively impact the investments of local poultry farmers.

The apex bank in October lifted the restriction on 43 items including poultry products, stating it will boost liquidity in the Nigerian foreign exchange market from time to time.

“Importers of all the 43 items previously restricted by the 2015 Circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/010 and its addendums are now allowed to purchase foreign exchange in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market,” the CBN stated.

Some of the affected items include rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel, palm oil products, vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and processed vegetable products, poultry, tomatoes/tomato paste, soap, cosmetics, and head pans.

The lifting of the ban means that importers of these items can now freely purchase forex from the official window at cheaper rates.

Speaking at the 2023 poultry summit themed: ‘Poultry Production: A Foundation for Food Security and National Development’, in Abuja, the former president noted that the removal of the ban will negatively impact the investments of local poultry farmers, while also warning against opening Nigeria’s border for poultry products importation.

“When you talk of poverty eradication, wealth creation or employment generation, poultry is one of the best that you can go into with either a small, medium or large resources level, moreso the market is at the doorstep.

“When the poultry industry is thriving it will trickle down the value chain including maize, soybean farmers, and pharmaceutical companies that are  producing drugs for the birds will also benefit.”

On his part, Aliyu Abdullahi, minister of state for Agriculture and Food Security, urged all industry players to work together to ensure the nation thrives on the wings of self-sufficiency and prosperity with poultry production playing a significant role.

“Agriculture, particularly poultry production, stands as a cornerstone in this journey. It is not merely about raising livestock; it is about nurturing a resilient nutrition foundation for our nation’s sustenance and growth.

The country’s poultry industry as a vital part of animal agriculture is adjudged the most commercialized component of the livestock sub-sector contributing over 25 per cent of the Agricultural GDP and boasts of employing about 25 million people in both direct and indirect jobs. The poultry industry prides itself as a veritable supplier of animal protein with a good potential to meet the protein requirement of Nigerians from animal sources. An egg is touted as a complete meal and can be utilized to tackle the menace of malnutrition particularly in children.

The annual egg output of the nation’s poultry industry is estimated at 10.3 billion eggs while annual consumption is about 14 billion eggs, based on the premise of annual individual consumption of about 70 eggs.

Also, the annual consumption of poultry meat in Nigeria is put at 1,500,000 MT and production output is just about 55 per cent of consumption, estimated at 826,902.42 MT leaving a huge deficit of 45 per cent, which is about 675,000 MT.

“This deficit, unfortunately, is met through the smuggling of poultry and poultry products which most of the times are unwholesome, with its attendant negative effects on the citizens, industry and the economy.

“The potential of the Nigerian poultry industry to meet the animal protein needs of the populace and play a vital role in the international trade arena is enormous. If correctly harnessed, they will culminate in immense prosperity for the citizens as well as the nation,” he said.

Sunday Ezeobiora, the national president of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), said there was a need for the government to ban the export of soybeans to safeguard the poultry industry from collapse.

Ezeobiora however said the Association is hopeful of stronger growth with the takeoff of the Nigeria Agricultural Development Fund, (NADF).

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