CBN: Forex access ban on 41 items yielding positive result
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.