Agric Entrepreneurs Flay CBN Export Income Policy
• Say Non-Oil Export Being Discouraged
THE new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy on repatriation of export proceeds into domiciliary accounts of agriculture entrepreneurs to their respective exporters’ account has come under hammer.
Agricultural products and non-oil exporters said in Lagos that the new policy on repatriation of proceeds within 180 days was counter-productive and a disincentive to agribusiness.
The agri-export stakeholders appealed to the Federal Government to intervene and direct the CBN to revert to the 2006 policy agreed upon during the Charles Soludo tenure.
The agriculture commodities exporters described the policy as capable of sending them packing from the export business.
President, Federation of Agriculture Association of Nigeria (FACAN), Dr Victor Iyama, said it is wrong for CBN to determine how the proceeds are utilised especially because government does not finance their business.
Inyama said the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) is hardly used to run their business and wondered why the CBN wants to determine how exporters run their account.
He urged the government to prevail on CBN to have a rethink on the policy as the progress made since the 2006 agreement by the Organised Private Sector (OPS) would be lost.
“Eighty five per cent of non-oil exports come from the agricultural sector. Agricultural sector still remains the sector that can take us out of poverty in this country. Oil is good but there are so many areas in the sector that will surpass all the revenue from oil; there are so many areas in the agric sector that are yet untapped,” he said.
Another stakeholder and President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Mr. Tola Faseru said directing agricultural product exporters to go the way of importers in the current forex administration, where a dollar trades for N220 in the parallel market would kill their business and put many in bankruptcy.
He said the measure would be only to the advantage to the banks, adding that the regime of the present local transactions would negatively affect foreign exchange flow. He said non-oil exporters especially agricultural products would be unwilling to transfer their proceeds.
Stakeholders said liberalisation in the export sector of the economy should be encouraged rather than setting back the hands of the clock in 2015 putting at risk investors and available jobs that exist in the sector.
Inyama pointed out that prior to 2006, the inflow of foreign exchange from non-oil export was less than $500 million, however it is evident that about $4 billion is recorded in 2014/2015.
Stakeholders at the conference asked the CBN to rescind the policy as it affects agri-product exporters to encourage more Nigerians to go into agriculture.