Former Education minister and Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa division, Oby Ezekwesili on Friday expressed concerns over the plan by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to place forex restriction on the importation of milk.
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it will place a ban on the importation of milk and other dairy products into the country.
This was made known by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the end of the bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion were spent yearly to import milk into the country.
Reacting through her Twitter page, Ezekwesili described the CBN’s decision as a policy borne out of vindictiveness.
She said, “Nothing more perverse of Political Leaders and Policy Makers as Policies borne out of Vindictiveness.
”It appears from what the CBN said on the MilkBanPolicy that it is a case of “You folks rejected RUGA, here is your punishment.” What a BIG SHAME that would be.
“Often I read or hear Nigerians say: “We have good policies/laws. Our problem is lack of implementation”.
“How wrong they are! The bane of our failure to achieve sustained economic growth that reduced Poverty in other countries is actually, BAD…..dangerous Policies/Laws.
“Milk consumption by Nigerians: 1.7 Million milk production in Nigeria: 600,000 tonnes.
”When MilkBan Policy happens, to avoid Scarcity which Prices Milk up and out of the reach of the Poor, Nigeria needs to immediately triple current production of milk.
“Nigeria has the highest number of children less than 5 years with chronic malnutrition (stunting or low height-for-age) in sub-Saharan Africa at more than 11.7 million, according to the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) (National Population Commission)”
“Child Poverty is even worst in a country that holds the ignoble record of being the World’s Capital of Extremely Poor People; our President should be fleeing from Policies that escalate Poverty.
“The CBN’s MilkBan Policy is dangerous. Dangerous for the Poor.
Kalu Aja, a financial planning expert, on his Twitter handle, equally said a ban on forex for milk importation will make milk become more expensive locally.
He said, “Most of the cows in Nigeria processed for beef are imported. Nigeria also imports raw hides, leather and fur skins.
”From 2014 to 2017, Nigeria spent N1.3t on live animal imports.
“Banning imported milk is a policy known as import substitution.
”I support import substitution. Imported beef is banned in Nigeria, but live cattle imports are not.
”An equitable policy is to ban all imports of cattle dead or alive and cattle by-products.
“If milk is banned, will baby milk be also banned.
“Just like banning Rice, a ban on forex for milk imports will make milk become more expensive locally.
”As long as local supply cannot meet local demand, there will be imports.
”Nigeria has no cold chain thus a ban on milk means bulk of milk produced will be powdered.”
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