The decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to lift the foreign exchange restriction on importation of 43 items accessing forex from the banks will strengthen Naira against Dollar and ease pressure on black market, according to maritime stakeholders.
CBN stated last week that it decided to lift the ban due to its commitment to boost liquidity in the foreign exchange market.
However, in a statement by Director Corporate Communications, Department, CBN, Dr. Isa Andulmumin, said: ”Importers of all the 43 items previously restricted by the 2015 Circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/010 and its addendums are now allowed to purchase foreign exchange in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market.”
“CBN will continue to promote orderliness and professional conduct by all participants in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market to ensure market forces determine exchange rates on a Willing Buyer – Willing Seller principle,” the apex bank stated.
Reacting to the development, the National President of African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, said the CBN policy was a welcome development because it would reduce pressure on black market and strengthen the Naira against Dollar.
He said before now, the items banned have continued to enter the Nigerian markets despite the ban.
“For instance, tyres were banned but are still coming into the country. How did they get into the country? We know that importers of these items are sourcing their funds from the black market, which impact the economy negatively. Now that the CBN has given the importers opportunity to access forex from the banks, it will ease pressure on the black market,” he said. He said it is too early to determine if the policy will impact the economy negatively or positively, and if it will improve importation and reduce inflation.
Also speaking with Daily Sun, an importer, Isaac Ojie, said the new CBN’s directive on the 43 items is a move in the right direction because it will strengthen Naira.
According to him, the foreign exchange restrictions on the 43 items had weakened Naira since 2015, which has affected the economy negatively under the previous administrations.
Meanwhile, he said new directive by the Apex bank will boost transparency in foreign exchange transactions, adding that fiscal authorities need to continually monitor the economic landscape to shape the character of fiscal policy measures to regulate imports in line with comparative advantage principles.