The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monday directed banks to instantly halt the processing of new imports documents, seeking to bring maize into the country.
It declared it planned to back expansion of local sufficiency, provoke economic growth and protect rural livelihoods lost to the coronavirus outbreak.
The regulator in a circular ordered dealers to hand in current import documents, technically called Form M, opened for maize importation not later than Wednesday.
The documentation is a precondition for lenders to bid for foreign exchange for import settlement from the CBN.
According to CBN data, government is determined to bridge a balance of payment gap in the neighbourhood of $14 billion this year.
Heaps of accumulated dollar demand have been subjecting the Naira to intense strain, precipitating a steep decline in the local currency’s value at the black market and the over-the-counter spot market alternatively called the Investors and Exporters window.
Disruption in oil receipts induced by an oil crash and the coronavirus crisis have aggravated a dollar shortage in Africa’s biggest economy, whose external reserves saw a 20% slump to $36.13 billion in the past one year.
The CBN in 2020 asked banks to suspend processing importation of milk on a credit basis following its decision to prohibit forex dairy products as part of government’s protectionist agenda to ramp up local production.
It thereafter removed curbs for milk importation for six companies after they showed reasonable commitment to expanding capacity.
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