The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that it will cease providing foreign currency for importers of sugar and wheat.
The central bank said in a tweet on Friday:
Sugar and wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them.
This restriction on foreign exchange on wheat joins the list of restrictions made in 2015. The list contains 41 items the regulatory body insists can be manufactured locally.
Rice tops the list of prohibited products for which foreign exchange has been restricted for and equally accounts for one of the most smuggled items in the country due to local production capacity unable to meet demand.
The new restrictions may see an increase in the prices of bread, pasta and other wheat by-products.
This announcement comes a day after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released its monthly inflation report, pegging food inflation at 22.95 percent in March, 1.16 percent higher than it recorded in February.
The Nigerian currency hit a low of 437.62 during intra- day trading to the dollar on Friday at the money market.
Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, had mentioned during an inspection tour of the proposed $500 million Dangote sugar processing facility in Nasarawa state on Thursday that Nigeria spends between $600million to $1billion on importation of sugar.
He noted that the apex bank will gradually begin to restrict foreign exchange to those who want to import sugar until Nigeria achieves self-sufficiency in sugar and wheat production.
In 2019, the Central Bank blocked access to foreign exchange to importers of milk, maintaining that the ban on milk importation will spur local production.