CBN: Forex ac­cess ban on 41 items yield­ing pos­i­tive re­sult

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Hamisu Muham­mad

The pol­icy that banned for­eign ex­change ac­cess to the im­porters of about 40 items is yield­ing pos­i­tive re­sults to the econ­omy, the Gover­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN), Mr God­win Eme­fiele has said.

Speak­ing to news­men re­cently in Peru at the end of the An­nual Meet­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund and World Bank, Eme­fiele dis­closed that as a re­sult of the new pol­icy, the bank has been able to con­serve some for­eign cur­ren­cies, with a lot of progress made on lo­cal pro­duc­tion of the listed items.

Eme­fiele clar­i­fied that at no time did the apex bank ban to­tal im­por­ta­tion of the said items, but only re­strict ac­cess of for­eign ex­change from of­fi­cial mar­kets to the im­porters.

“We didn’t ban the im­por­ta­tion of any­thing. What we did was to re­strict the for­eign ex­change to those items that we think we can pro­duce com­pet­i­tively lo­cally so as to im­prove our lo­cal in­dus­tries due to the chal­lenges we have, due to the fall in crude oil rev­enue.

Eme­fiele said he has never contemplated re­mov­ing the ban as claimed in some quar­ters. “The de­ci­sion still stands and I must be quoted out of con­text if any­body said that I am re­con­sid­er­ing it. What I have only said is that ex­clu­sion stands. We even re­ceived a list of many more items which some manufacturing com­pa­nies think can be pro­duced lo­cally. But we said no, we need to prop­erly di­gest the 41 items that have been ex­cluded first.

“It is a fact that rev­enues have dropped as a re­sult of the fall of the com­mod­ity prices. And if that hap­pen, we need to pri­or­i­tize just like what Mr Pres­i­dent said, to make sure that forex is made avail­able to only those who are im­port­ing es­sen­tial raw ma­te­ri­als and goods that can­not be pro­duced within the coun­try. That is the only way we can con­serve our forex.”

He pleaded for more pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing from Nige­ri­ans and the peo­ple af­fected, say­ing that “we are con­vinced that th­ese items can be pro­duced lo­cally”.

Items af­fected in­clude rice, ce­ment, mar­garine, palm ker­nel/palm oil prod­ucts/ veg­etable oil, meat and pro­cessed meat prod­ucts, veg­etable and pro­cessed veg­etable prod­ucts, poul­try (chicken, eggs, turkey), pri­vate air­planes/jet, In­dian in­cense, tinned fish in sauce (Geisha/ sar­dines), cold rolled steel sheet and gal­vanised steel sheets.

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