The Central Bank of Nigeria has stopped the sales of foreign exchange to importers of rice, private jets, textiles, tomato paste, poultry products and 35 other times.
The move, according to sources, may be one of the apex bank’s efforts to beef up the rapidly depleting external reserves of the country.
The CBN, in a circular dated June 23, 2015, stated that the implementation of the policy would help to conserve foreign reserves and facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries as well as generate employment.
The circular, which was signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange, CBN, Olakanmi Gbadamosi, stated that it was imperative to exclude importers of some goods and services from accessing foreign exchange at the Nigerian foreign exchange market in order to encourage local production of the items.
“In the continuing efforts to sustain the stability of the forex market and ensure efficient utilisation of forex and the derivation of optimum benefits from goods and services imported into the country, it has become imperative to exclude importers of some goods and services from accessing foreign exchange at the Nigerian forex markets in order to encourage local production of these items.
“The implementation of the policy will help conserve foreign reserves as well as facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries and improve employment generation.
“For the avoidance of doubt, please note that the importation of these items are not banned, thus importers desirous of importing these items shall do so using their funds without any recourse to the Nigerian foreign exchange market,” according to the statement.
The list of 40 items include cement, margarine, palm kernel, vegetable oil, poultry products (chicken, eggs and turkey), Indian incense, tinned fish in sauce (Geisha, Sardines), cold rolled steel sheets, galvanized steel, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows, head pans, metal boxes and containers, and enamelware.
Others are steel drum, steel pipes, wire mesh, steel nails, wire rods, security wire, wood particle and board, wood fibre boards and panel, plywood board and panel, wooden doors, toothpicks, glass and glassware, kitchen utensils, tableware, tiles and wooden fabrics, plastic and rubber products, and soap and cosmetics.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had a few months ago said the bank would bar importers of toothpicks, rice and other products from accessing forex at the nation’s forex markets.
The latest policy is expected to make the prices of the listed items to shoot up in the market as importers of the items will now source for foreign currencies on the black market.
The naira, which goes for 199 against the dollar at the interbank market, now sell for 222 at the street market.