The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a move to track importation of wheat into the country, has directed all foreign exchange authorised dealers to forward to its head office, all documents in respect of wheat importation from January 2009 to date.
The documents, which must be sent in both soft and hard copies, should as a matter of urgency, reach the CBN before the close of work todaythe apex bank said in a circular to all authorised dealers.
The circular, signed by N. T Igba for Director, Trade and Exchange Department, urged dealers to "comply accordingly, failing which appropriate sanction would be imposed."
The CBN directive, LEADERSHIP checks indicate, is not unconnected with plans by the Federal Government to reduce the huge sum currently spent on importation of wheat in the country.
Findings showed that, in 2011 alone, Nigeria spent N635 billion on the importation of wheat. This was due to the country's 100 per cent dependence on wheat flour for the baking of bread and allied products.
The federal government is seeking a 10 per cent cassava flour substitution for wheat flour in the baking of bread and allied products to enable the country save at least N63.5 billion in foreign exchange annually.
The apex bank had earlier announced the ban on importation of cassava flour, effective March 31, 2012, to encourage the substitution of high quality cassava flour with wheat flour in bread making.
In addition, tax incentive of 12 per cent was promised bakers who attain 40 per cent cassava flour blend within a period of 18 months. To this end, all equipment for processing cassava flour for composite flour blending is being imported duty free, the apex bank said.
Other measures introduced by the federal government to discourage high importation of wheat include higher tax and duties and listed below; wheat flour shall attract a levy of 65 per cent and 35 per cent duty rate; wheat grain shall attract a levy of 15 per cent and 5 per cent duty; husked brown rice shall attract a levy of 25 per cent and duty rate of 5 per cent; imported polished rice shall attract a levy of 40 per cent and duty of 10 per cent.
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