The Governor of the Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will suspend the account of any person hiding under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme to sabotage the federal government’s investment in reviving the palm oil sector.
He made this known during the inauguration of the Edo oil palm programme in Benin.
The CBN governor said the Nigerian palm oil industry was at a crossroad adding that, the economy continued to be threatened by inadequate local production and continued reliance on imports, warning that accounts of corporate entities including their cronies and supply chain enablers involved in smuggling palm oil and its products into the country would also be suspended.
“The journey to revive the oil palm sector began with the discovery that over $500 million of our scarce foreign exchange was being expended on the importation of palm oil to meet identified unmet demand gap of 1.25 million metric tons.
Faced with this, the CBN decided to intervene with a view to changing the narrative and to reposition agriculture as the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, Emefiele said.
Under the CBN Oil Palm Development and Expansion Initiative, he said the CBN had so far disbursed over N30 billion to the oil palm sector and the disbursement was being monitored to ensure efficient and effective utilisation.