Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) has demanded that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor should within one month allow exporters to have unfettered access to their repatriated foreign exchange and to sell same as market forces demands.
It also vow that if CAN’s ultimatum to reverse the stifling controls on foreign exchange rates by the end of June is not met, it may result in litigation against the CBN Governor.
The association said it is surprised that the CBN continues to maintain a policy that encourages ‘round-tripping’ by banks employees despite the glaring fact that this discourages exports and it also discourages farmers, exporters and suppresses the growth of the agricultural sector.
CAN in a communiqué made available to Independent Newspapers at the end of its inaugural meeting in Akure and signed by its National President, General Secretary and Executive Secretary, Sayina Riman, Adebola Alagbada and Segun Adewumi respectively, decries the exchange rate policy of the CBN being currently implemented without any engagement or discussion with the private sector, including cocoa exporters who represent the largest foreign exchange earnings in the agricultural commodity sector.
CAN further noted that it sees the policy as a fraudulent practice, which negates the anti-corruption agenda of President Buhari’s administration.
The group lamented that due to years of neglect, Nigerian cocoa production fell from being the 2nd largest in the world, with a global supply share of 27 per cent in the early ‘80s, to an abysmally low 5 per cent of the world’s cocoa production today.
It, however, opined that Nigeria still has the manpower and with good, consistent exchange rate policy, export proceeds from cocoa could increase to over $7 billion in the next five years.
It also called on the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment to partner CAN so as to enforce the subsisting Stamp Duty Certificates to facilitate traceable cocoa and export data collation, adding that this will enable CAN to eliminate low quality cocoa beans leaving the shores of Nigeria.
The association, however, called on all concerned to join hands to ensure that the place of cocoa as the true king of export cash crops is achieved.
“Together, we can positively impact production, quality-control, processing, sales, consumption, export and pricing of this singular commodity. This will certainly enhance the economic potential and foreign exchange earning capacity of Nigeria, increase revenue in the agricultural sector, and enhance employment opportunities and sustainable development as oil resources dwindles,” the statement noted.