According to Mr Emefiele, the move by the CBN is to encourage the production of such items in Nigeria.
"Most of you are aware of the often-quoted number of N1.3 trillion, which is what we spend on average importing rice, fish, sugar, and wheat every year. I am saying it is shameful that we have to import toothpick. I am saying that it is shameful for us to import fish in sauce canned, fish in sauce and sardine. I am saying it is shameful. Before I was born palm kernel was taken out of Nigeria and taken to another country and today we go to that country and import palm oil. It is shameful. It is shameful that items that we used to produce in this country we now begin to import them.
It is shameful and we need to stop them. That is what we are saying. Only last week, I met the Governor of Kebbi State and he lamented the unfortunate situation in that state. Where people, our own farmers, have committed themselves to producing rice and have produced paddy and we have paddy glut in Kebbi State today. As I speak, the government has spent its money buying paddy from the rice farmers, almost close to 200,000 of paddy rice. Aside from that, Kebbi State farmers have unpurchased paddy rice close to 800,000 tons. And yet we patronise imported rice.
For our benefits, those rice imported to the country are those that have spent at least seven years in their stores and yet we have rice that is produced today in Nigeria and we are running away from them. The only way we can encourage people who are producing rice to go back to the farms is to do what we have done today. How can we keep complaining about the depreciation of the naira when all we do as a people is to import everything from ordinary Geisha and toothpicks to even eggs? These are some of the fundamental reasons behind the bank’s recent announcement.”he saidHe warned that any bank or bureau de change outlet that offers foreign exchange to any business owner who imports such goods will be sanctioned
"Foreign exchange will not be provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the banks or by bureaux de change. If we find people flouting it, luckily these people we have mentioned are under our regulation, we know how to deal with them"he said