Nine years after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under its former Governor, Godwin Emefiele, placed restriction on access to the official foreign exchange market for the importation of some 43 items, the restrictions have now been removed by the apex bank.
This was contained in a statement released by the apex bank and signed by its Director of Corporate Communications, Dr Isa Abdulmumin, on Thursday.
The statement also assured that the apex bank will continue to intervene at the official foreign exchange market to meet the rising demand.
AbdulMumin said the CBN is actively working to address the existing backlog of foreign exchange transactions, and the CBN is currently engaged in ongoing discussions with various stakeholders to find solutions and facilitate the clearance of this backlog.
Although the value of the naira has remained stable at around N760-N770 to the dollar at the official end of the market, the demand pressure at the parallel market had seen it spiral to over N1,030 to the dollar as at Wednesday.
As of October 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had restricted access to Forex from FX market for the following 43 items: Rice, cement, Margarine, Palm kernel, palm oil products and vegetable oils, Meat and processed meat products and Vegetables and processed vegetable products.
Others are: Poultry and processed poultry products, Tinned fish in sauce (Geisha)/sardines, Cold rolled steel sheets, Galvanized steel sheets, Roofing sheets, Wheelbarrows, Head pans, Metal boxes and containers, Enamelware, Steel drums, Steel pipes, Wire rods (deformed and not deformed), Iron rods and reinforcing bars.
Also included on the list were: Wire mesh, Steel nails, Security and razor fencing and poles, Wood particle boards and panels, Wood fiberboards and panels, Plywood boards and panels, Wooden doors, Toothpicks, Glass and glassware, Kitchen utensils, Tableware, Tiles-vitrified and ceramic.
Textiles, Woven fabrics, Clothes, Plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers and bags, Soap and cosmetics, Tomatoes/tomato pastes, Eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases, Piston crowns, Ball bearings, High voltage cables, Transformers/switch gears and Gas cylinders were also on list.
The statement 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.
He said: “The Central Bank of Nigeria (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 CBN reiterates that the prevailing Foreign Exchange (FX) rates should be referenced from platforms such as the CBN website, FMDQ, and other recognised or appointed trading systems to promote price discovery, transparency, and credibility the FX rates.
“As part of its responsibility to ensure price stability, the CBN will boost liquidity in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market by interventions from time to time. As market liquidity improves, these CBN interventions will gradually decrease.
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.
The CBN is committed to accelerating efforts to clear the FX backlog with existing participants and will continue dialogue with stakeholders to address the issue. The CBN has set as one of its goals the attainment of a single FX market. Consultation is ongoing with market participants to achieve this goal. Participants and the general public are to be guided by the above.”