The National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), has lauded the Federal Government’s ban on Foreign Exchange (Forex) allocation for importers of food items saying that the action will help Nigeria attain food sufficiency and boost exportation.
NASSI National President Chief Solomon Vongfa, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Monday, in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to implement any plan geared towards providing foreign exchange for importers of food items and fertilisers into the country.
The entrepreneur, while commending the development also urged the government to extend the patriotic stance to other sectors.
“NASSI has always taken the position that Nigeria has the naturally endowed capacity to be the breadbasket of Africa.
“And this means not only can we achieve self sufficiency in food production but also be a net exporter of both agricultural commodities and processed food products too,” Vongfa said.
According to him, Nigeria is already bleeding enough forex in the energy sector where we import virtually all petroleum products in spite of huge crude oil reserves and production capacity.
This, he said had put constant pressure on the naira value as the government struggled to meet forex demand from other sectors, adding that forex demand routinely outstripped supply.
He said the situation had also put pressure on foreign reserves which impacted on Nigeria’s global ratings.
“We at NASSI, therefore, support government position here but as a footnote NASSI also wants the federal government to extend this patriotic stance to other sectors.
“So that Nigerian entrepreneurs are patronised by the state over and above imports as a matter of enforced state policy.
“An example of what government should not be doing is funding the importation of fully built Toyota Camry vehicles and others for the National Assembly while we have Nigerian car plants ready and willing to meet such orders,” he said.
The NASSI president, however, said such actions tend to demoralise entrepreneurs and dampen their patriotic zeal that it needed to foster or encourage.