CBN’s forex policy on milk is dangerous to the poor, says Ezekwesili

Obiageli Ezekwesili, Nigeria’s former education minister has said the Central Bank of Nigeria’s foreign exchange policy on milk importation is dangerous to the poor.

“Child Poverty is even worst in a country that holds the ignoble record of being the World’s Capital of Extremely Poor People, our government should be fleeing from policies that escalate poverty,” Ezekwesili said on her Twitter handle @obyezeks.
“The CBN milk ban policy is dangerous. Dangerous for the Poor,” she added.

CBN reportedly added milk and other dairy products to items on the foreign exchange restriction list with a view to boosting local production, and investment in ranches.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele was reported to have expressly told operators that milk and other dairy products would be restricted from access to foreign exchange both at the official and parallel markets if they refuse to invest in ranches, a move he said would quell the ongoing farmers-herders crisis.

Ezekwesili believes the policy might be borne out of the vindictiveness over the rejection of Ruga settlement by Nigerians.
“Nothing more perverse of Political Leaders and Policy Makers as Policies was borne out of Vindictiveness,” she said.

She said if the Nigerian government persist and move ahead with the policy it will only drop more millions of Nigerians into poverty.
Ezekwesili maintained that the people who are vulnerable to the effects of this policy were the lower class because the ban will lead to scarcity of milk products which will be out of reach of the poor.

“Do you think any middle to upper-income Nigerian will be personally worried about a ban on milk? Not one bit.
“When the milk ban 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,” she added.

Industry watchers think that while ranching has become a controversial issue, especially with the Federal Government’s proposed Rural Grazing Area policy, the bank’s approach could intensify the struggle for land between herders and farmers. Operators of CBN’s forex policy might also see the CBN as foisting the policy on them without recourse to an existing business model and the socio-ethnic concerns milk and meat may incite.


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