The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has said that the country spends about $600 million on the importation of cassava by-products annually.
The CBN governor who said this recently in Port-Harcourt at the launch of the Rivers Cassava Processing Company stated that the cassava company will help in reducing Nigeria’s reliance on cassava by-products importation, which serves as a key input in the production of food items in several factories.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Nigeria’s cassava production is by far the largest in the world.
Only last week, Emefiele refuted allegations that the bank’s various interventions are tilted towards a section of the country.
He noted that, “the sum of N333.2 billion had been disbursed to various projects in the South South region covering activities in different economic sectors.
“About N7.436 billion had been accessed by four states in the South South region to open up more land for cultivation, create access roads to agricultural lands, and provide infrastructure, among other support services in the region.
“These measures are helping to induce greater activity in the agricultural sector and are enabling the movement of goods from farm to factories, and to the markets.”
Emefiele commended the efforts made by the Rivers State government, working with Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), the Dutch Embassy Investment Nigeria Limited and their technical partners, in setting up the integrated facility. “The cassava processing facility helps to support the CBN’s mandate of promoting economic growth for Nigeria,” he said, adding that “the cassava processing facility will also provide farmers with a verifiable platform to access finance from the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions through our Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP). “With the capacity to process over 45,000 tonnes of cassava, this facility will provide high quality cassava flour for households, industries and bakeries. The facility will help in reducing our reliance on imports of cassava by-products, which serve as key input in the production of food items in several factories. Nigeria imports over $580 million worth of cassava by-products annually.”
Emefiele stressed that, “developmental finance initiatives at the CBN is focused on creating an enabling environment that will drive both public and private sectors participation in the real sector with strategic deliverables around price stability, job creation, financial inclusion, import substitution and accretion to foreign reserve.”
According to Emefiele, Rivers State had accessed over N13 billion from the bank’s various intervention programmes, and their loan status remains in good standing.