NECA Commends CBN for Exempting Six Firms from Milk Importation Ban

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Chris Uba

Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for exempting six companies from restriction on milk and dairy products importation, describing the move as “timely and a sign of government’s responsiveness to good reasoning and the concern of the businesses.”

The CBN had on Tuesday exempted six companies from the restriction list over milk and dairy products importation as part of efforts to increase local production of milk, its derivatives and dairy products and engaged with some companies in the industry that have keyed into the bank’s backward integration programme to enhance their capacity and improve local milk production.

To this effect, the apex bank announced that all authorised dealers were to note that all Forms ‘M’ for the importation of milk and its derivatives would only be allowed for the following companies: Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria, Chi Limited, TG Arla Dairy Products Limited, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Nestle Nigeria Plc (MSK only) and Integrated Dairies Limited.

Commending CBN’s decision, NECA Director-General, Timothy Olawale, who spoke to THISDAY, said “we commend the apex bank for the bold step of reversing a policy that almost crippled the dairy and milk industry.”

“The exemption of the six companies demonstrated that government is, indeed, responsive to the concerns we had expressed severally. While we support the efforts of the CBN to increase local production of milk, its derivatives and dairy products, we believe that businesses in the sector should be given ample time to plan and implement the backward integration programme by the government.”

Also, while commending the exempted companies for their resilience and doggedness, the NECA boss stated that “it is hard enough to do business in Nigeria. We commend the six organisations for their commitment to local milk production and bold steps at backward integration.”

He added that government should, however, ensure policy consistency and also encourage investment in animal husbandry to enable these firms and many other players in the industry to focus on their core business of dairy and milk production, noting that the experiences in other climes show that animal husbandry is a thriving industry that generates large employment for the citizens and revenue for government.

Olawale urged government to initiate “dialogue and focused engagement with organised businesses before taking fundamental policy decisions that could affect businesses. A collaborative approach to policy formulation and implementation would do well for the development of the nation.”