Workers in the food and tobacco sector of the economy have kicked against the recent lifting of ban on forex for 43 items by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The workers, under the umbrella of the National Union of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), warned that the bank’s action would do more harm than good to the sector.
The president of the union, Garba Ibrahim, said, presently, some of the items on the list were what the nation was still struggling to sustain. “
If you go through the list of items, you will realize that some of the items concern the food industry directly,” he said. He maintained that it “would affect us negatively because when the government gives room for the importation of food items like rice, when we are struggling to sustain our local industries, we cannot grow.”
According to Garba, in Kano alone, there are about 42 rice mills in operation and others in neighboring states like Jigawa, Sokoto and others.
“So, if we lift ban on importation of rice and it floods our market, Nigerians may not patronize our local rice, and this would lead to the closure of most of our industries,” he said.