Thursday, June 23

One year later, CBN forex ban still ‘hurting’ these 41 items

One year later, CBN forex ban still ‘hurting’ these 41 items

Exactly one year ago – June 23, 2015 – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released a circular, listing 41 items as not valid for foreign exchange (forex) through the official forex window.

Olakanmi Gbadamosi, the apex bank director of trade and exchange, said the exclusion of these items was in order to ensure “efficient utilization of forex”.

The CBN also argued that the move would encourage patronage of locally made good, pushing its argument with the narrative that Nigerians were still in the business of importing toothpicks.

After the ban, many manufacturers in the country complained that the bank’s action was affecting over 700 products in the market.

Speaking at TheCable colloquium, Muda Yusuf, president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), who was represented by Vincent Nwani, said the ban was hurting 728 businesses.

“The 41 items that were banned by the CBN from accessing forex from official sources, to us in the chamber is like 728 lines of product. To them, they see it as 41 items,” Yusuf had said.

“We don’t subscribe to importing toothpick, tomato paste and all of that but there are key manufacturing items we are looking at.

“Out of the 41, we brought about 12 items to them that we don’t have the capacity to meet this. For example, everybody knows that Nigerian is rich in palm oil, but the local demand capacity is 1,800 metric tonnes per annum.

“Today the domestic production is just 600 metric tonnes. You need about five to eight years for the best seed of palm oil to yield; we demanded for some lag, but this is not happening.

“I can tell you that about 80,000 jobs are at risk in the manufacturing sector.”

41 ITEMS AND THE NEW FOREX REGIME

At the start of the new forex regime on Monday, the CBN insisted that the 41 items remain “not valid for forex”, drawing up much criticism.

Experts argue that these 41 items would give much relevance to the parallel market, which was expected to fizzle out over the cause of time.

Oby Ezekwesili, former World Bank vice president, has called on the CBN to take of the “fetters” put on the 41 items and allow the market to fully function.

Below are the 41 items:

Cement
Margarine
Palm kernel/Palm oil products/vegetables oils
Meat and processed meat products
Vegetables and processed vegetable products
Poultry chicken, eggs, turkey
Private airplanes/jets
Indian incense
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 bard
Wire mesh
Steel nails
Security  and razor wine
Wood particle boards and panels
Wood Fibre Boards 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
Soap and cosmetics
Tomatoes/tomato pastes
Eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases

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