The Federal Government spent $1.68bn on food importation from January to September last year.
The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this in a report on sectoral utilisation of foreign exchange for the third quarter of 2021.
According to the CBN, the government spent $163.60m, $197.73m, and $171.05m in January, February and March, respectively, while $156.30m, $135.72m and $213.58m were spent in April May and June, respectively.
The report revealed that $184.69m, 188.88m and 271.59m were spent in July, August and September, respectively.
During the Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos recently, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said Nigeria could produce enough to feed its citizens.
He said the government was ensuring the diversification of the economy.
Emefiele said, “We believe that Nigeria can feed itself; Nigeria can produce what to eat. Everything needs to be done for us to move away from a situation where everything is imported.
“We need to get to a stage where we bring our manufacturing industries back to life again. For us to say that there is sustainable, inclusive growth in the country, we, as banks, working with government must do everything possible to diversify the Nigerian economy.
“We have to do everything possible to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country. We will do everything possible to reduce the rate of poverty in our country.”
According to him, if the country is able to diversify the economy, reduce unemployment and poverty, the level of insecurity in the country will reduce.
Emefiele said the banks had done a lot to support the economy and would still do more to catalyse the economy for growth.
He said the banks would increase credit to the economy.
The CBN governor noted that there were companies that were ready to conduct credible business but did not have the capital.
“We will help in providing jobs and employment for Nigeria,” he said.
Emefiele said the CBN recently unveiled the ‘100 for 100’ policy on production and productivity to engender growth and employment.
According to him, under the programme, targeted credit of up to N5bn will be provided to 100 firms every 100 days, provided the firms are investing in greenfield projects.
He said the projects would be assessed based on their ability to generate significant employment opportunities in critical sectors for the economy, adding that eligible firms would be made to show evidence of their efforts to harness available local raw materials towards the realisation of their intended investment.
The CBN governor said the bank remained committed to supporting eligible firms with foreign exchange to import machinery and equipment.
He noted that routine audits would be conducted on firms that receive funding, to ensure that they are complying with the terms of the programme.