Milk importation: NECA lauds apex bank’s decision

Mr Timothy Olawale, Director-General, the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA).

The Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the apex bank in Nigeria, for exempting six companies from restriction on milk and dairy products importation.

The NECA’s Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale said in a statement on Thursday that it was timely and a sign of responsiveness to good reasoning and businesses concerns.

The CBN had on February 11 announced the exemption of six companies from the restriction on milk and dairy products importation.

The apex bank said that the exempted companies had started investments in local milk production as part of its backward integration plan.

The companies exempted include; Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria, Chi Limited, TG Arla Dairy Products Limited, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Nestle Nigeria Plc (MSK only) and Integrated Dairies Limited.

“We commend CBN 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 CBN, we believe that businesses should be given ample time to plan and implement the backward integration programme,’’  said the NECA Director-General.

He commended the exempted companies for their resilience, doggedness, commitment to local milk production and bold steps at backward integration.

He, however, urged government to ensure policy consistency and also encourage investment in animal husbandry as this will enable the organizations and many other players in the industry to focus on their core business of dairy and milk production.

He said that the experience in other climes showed that animal husbandry was a thriving industry that generated large employment for citizens and revenue for government.

“Government should institutionalize dialogue and focus engagement with organized businesses before taking fundamental policy decisions that can affect businesses.

“A collaborative approach to policy formulation and implementation will do well for the development of the nation,” Olawale added.

NECA is the umbrella organization of employers in the organized private sector of Nigeria.

Amaka E. Nliam