Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the country imports over $580m worth of cassava by-products annually.
Emefiele, said this on Thursday in Port-Harcourt at the launch of the Rivers Cassava Processing Company.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Nigeria cassava production is by far the largest in the world.
Emefiele said the cassava company will help in reducing Nigeria’s reliance on imports of cassava by-products, which serves as a key input in the production of food items in several factories.
Last week, Emefiele had refuted allegations that the bank’s various interventions are tilted towards a section of the country.
“The sum of N333.2bn had been disbursed to various projects in the South-South region covering activities in different economic sectors,” Emefiele said.
“About N7.436bn had been accessed by four states in the South-South region to open up more land for cultivation, create access roads to agricultural lands, and provide infrastructure, among other support services in the region.
He commended the efforts made by the Rivers state government, working with Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, the Dutch Embassy Investment Nigeria Limited and their technical partners, in setting up the integrated facility.
“The cassava processing facility helps to support the CBN’s mandate of promoting economic growth for Nigeria,” he added.
“The cassava processing facility will also provide farmers with a verifiable platform to access finance from the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions through our Anchor Borrowers Program.
“The facility will help in reducing our reliance on imports of cassava by-products, which serves as a key input in the production of food items in several factories. Nigeria imports over $580m worth of cassava by-products annually.
“Developmental finance initiatives at the CBN is focused on creating an enabling environment that will drive both public and private sectors participation in the real sector with strategic deliverables around price stability, job creation, financial inclusion, import substitution and accretion to foreign reserve.”
According to Emefiele, Rivers State had accessed over N13bn from the bank’s various intervention programs, and their loan status remains in good standing.