Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has warned banks and bureau de change operators against making available foreign exchange to importers of the 41 prohibited products into the country.
The CBN had on Tuesday released a list of 41 restricted items, saying that it was no longer going to make foreign exchange available to importers of these products.
The apex bank in the circular hinted that the implementation of the policy would help in a long way to conserve our hard earned foreign exchange and boost production activities in the country.
Addressing a press conference on the subtle import prohibition, the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele disclosed that although the apex bank does not have the power to ban importation, the bank would ban foreign exchange provision to any importer who might want to import any of the 41 listed items.
The banned items include vegetable oil, metal boxes, galvanised steel cement, margarine, palm kernel, poultry products (chicken, eggs and turkey), Indian incense, tinned fish in sauce (Geisha, Sardines), cold rolled steel sheets, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows, head pans, and containers, and enamelware.
Others are cosmetics, soap, plastic and rubber, 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
“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.” the apex bank boss said.
“The implementation of the policy will help conserve foreign reserves as well as facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries and improve employment generation.”
To ensure that the policy is well implemented, Mr Emefiele said the CBN would deal seriously with any deposit money banks or bureau de change operators who make available foreign exchange to the recalcitrant importers.
“I am not saying importer should not import any of the prohibited items, what I am saying is that the importers will not be able to access Foreign Exchange from our markets, which are the CBN, banks and Bureau de Change, if we find any of our market operators flouting this order, we know how to deal with them,” the governor said.
Mr Emefiele, disclosing that the era of unbridled importation was over in Nigeria, stated that Nigeria cannot achieve the much desire greatness by simply importing everything we need into the country.
He said “time is ripe for honest conversation, Central Bank in developing countries can’t concentrate on price and monetary stability alone, what we are doing is to identifying productive sector and channel money there.”
Mr Emefiele, who stated that the apex would no longer provide foreign exchange to import items that can be produced locally stressed that “ we will increase credit allocation to the productive sector of the economy to reduce our import bill, we spend huge money in importing things we can produce locally, it is affecting our forex Reserve”
The governor said “Nigeria spends N1,3trillion on average annually to import consumable goods such as rice, oil, etc which can be produced locally. It is not necessary hiw much that we save, it is by the fact that we are saying that it is shameful , even if it is $1 that we spent in importing toothpick, I am saying that it is shameful that we have to import toothpick , am sayingnthat it is shameful for us to import fish in source, canned fish in source into the cou try and sardine,p, I am saying that for instance, before I was born, palm kernel was taken out of this country and today we go to that country and import palm oil,it is shameful. It is shameful that items that we used to produce in this country we now begin to import them into yhis country.It is shameful, and I think we need to stop it, that is what we are saying.
“Current situation calls for self sufficiency, through this policy, we can conserve Foreign Exchange and provide jobs for our people, we will look for areas where we can provide catalytic role, this we are resolved to do.”
Recall that CBN in a circular dated June 23, 2015, and signed by the director, Trade and Exchange, Mr. Olakanmi Gbadamosi, stated that it was necessary 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.

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