October 26, 2023.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Anambra-based businessman, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, has said lifting of ban on importation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will worsen the plights of indigenous producers.
Ezeonwuka, who is the Managing Director of Rojenny Stadium, Oba, said this at Awka, the Anambra capital, on Wednesday.
He said the move which may was designed to cushion food inflation, could cripple local production in the medium and long term, thereby making Nigeria a wholly import dependent country.
He said Nigeria had no business opening its borders to the importance of palm oil, rice and other primary food items years after the import ban policy was initiated.
Ezeonwuka said Nigeria also risked the possibility of being a dumping ground for non-natural food items.
“Why should the Federal Government lift the ban on importation of those 43 items which include rice and palm oil? These two items are supposed to be completely restricted because Nigeria has the capacity to attain self sufficiency in rice production,
“The danger is that now that these items are permitted for import, a certain country will flood Nigeria with plastic rice and our people may embrace that artificial product as foreign rice.
“I thought the last administration had helped Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production when it displayed the rice pyramid in Abuja two years ago,” he said.
Ezeonwuka said he closed his toothpick production factory which employed a good number of workers when the Federal Government opened the country’s borders for all manners of imports in the 1980s.
He blamed unchecked importation for the collapse of local industries such as sugar, flour, textile and cement with enormous unemployment consequences.
According to him, “I closed my toothpick factory in Oba where I employed over 400 workers and we were exporting toothpicks to Europe.
“We closed because the Federal Government lifted the ban on import of toothpicks then.
“When the last administration encouraged local rice producers, over 40 per cent of rice mills in Thailand.were shut down.
“A company like Coscharis invested billions of Naira in Rice Production in parts of Anambra. You cannot lift a ban on importation of products that can be produced locally without affecting local manufacturers negatively.
Recall that the CBN on Oct. 12 lifted the ban in issuance of forex for important of 43 items, the ban was imposed on June 23, 2015. (www.naija247news.com).