CBN to Add More Items to FX Restriction List

President Muhammadu Buhari and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
  • CBN to Add More Items to FX Restriction List

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said more items would be added to the list of foreign exchange restricted items.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the governor, CBN, disclosed this on Monday to State House Correspondents in Abuja.

The governor explained that the restriction also applied to food items that could be produced in the country and not all food items as publicised by the media.

Speaking on President Buhari’s position on forex restriction, he said the President was misrepresented last week in Katsina.

He said, “Let me say this, Mr President’s comment on the issuing of forex to people who import food items into the country is in the logic of its CBN’s management foreign exchange policies that we started since 2016.

“If you recall, we started with about 41 items (food and non-food items) because we believe that those items can be produced in the country.

“As we stand today, there are about 43 items on that list and I will say substantially most of them are food items. We are basically saying, if we have a food item that can be produced in the country, why should we waste scarce foreign exchange importing that item into the country, when it can be produced in the country?

“It is important for me to say that the attempt to misrepresent the comments of Mr President is very unfair and unfortunate.

“But what we will say from the CBN is that Mr President has made this comment purely to strengthen the position of the CBN, to say that he believes in what the CBN has been doing since 2016 and there is a need for us to reinforce that, going forward.”

According to the governor, more items that could be produced locally would be added to the restricted list in due course.

Emefiele said, “I will say that we will aggressively go more into the list of items that are being imported into the country; items that can be produced in Nigeria.

“I will like to stress that we will ensure that more of these items will get on the list of items that are going to be restricted from accessing foreign exchange in Nigerian banking industry, not just from the CBN source.

“Because I have heard some comments that maybe it’s about the CBN’s source. It is not the CBN’s source; we are saying you will not be able to access foreign exchange from the Nigerian banking industry because it is important for us to produce these items in Nigeria and we will follow through on them.”

When asked if adjustments could be made to the policy at some point, he replied, “There will never be an amendment because the issue is this: why should we be exporting jobs to other countries?

“Today, we are complaining that there is a high rate of unemployment, leading to some extent insecurity in the country. Why should we allow people to import food that can be produced in the country?

“We need to improve wealth in our rural communities and I am saying we will not change our course; we will even be more aggressive with this programme.”

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya; Email: [email protected]

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