Despite announcing ban on maize importation, the Nigerian Government has given approval to four companies to secretly import 262,000 tons of maize.

The government had in July added maize to the list of ‘41 banned items’.

Comptoller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hamid Ali

The Central Bank of Nigeria had said that the decision was taken as part of its yearly efforts to control import and encourage local production.

“As part of efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods and increase jobs, which were lost as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, authorised dealers are hereby directed to discontinue the processing of 'Form M' for the importation of maize/corn with immediate effect,” O.S Nnaji, CBN’s Director in charge of Trade and Exchange Department, said in a circular seen by SaharaReporters.

Documents seen by SaharaReporters, however, revealed that a month after the ban, Wacot Limited, Chi Farms Limited, Crown Flour Mills Limited and Premier Feed Mills Limited were given approval to import maize into the country at specific capacities.

Both Wacot and Chi Farms Limited are subsidiaries of Tropical General Investments Group.

“I am directed to refer to the above subject matter. In line with government policy on food security, sufficiency and striking a balance between food security and local production capacity to meet anticipated shortfall, the Central Bank of Nigeria has granted approval to the underlisted companies to import maize in the quantities stated below:

“Wacot Limited 30,000 tons, Citi Bank
Wacot Limited 30,000 tons, Chi Farms Limited 60,000 tons, Titan Trust Bank,
Crown Flour Mills Limited 22,000 tons,  Coronation Bank,
Premier Feed Mills Limited 120,000 tons,  Zenith Bank.

“Note: Approval is strictly for the companies listed above and stemmed to the months of August, September and October alone. Given the clarification, all CACs are directed to note the above companies, approved companies, duration and jerque accordingly. Please be guided,” an internal circular signed by one TM Isa on behalf of the controller of Customs read.

On Thursday, Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari, said he had approved the disbursement of 30,000 tons of maize from the national reserves to animal feed producers.

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