Following the deepening forex crisis, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is taking fresh measures to shore up forex savings and is set to add more imported items to the list of those excluded from getting official forex allocation.
It will be recalled that not too long ago, the apex bank blacklisted 40 items, including toothpicks and private jets of items that are exempted from official forex allocation.
Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the CBN, in a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, , disclosed that more items will soon be included on the blacklist a bid designed to boost local production.
According to Emefiele, the government will not succumb to calls for further devaluation of the naira. Only recently the Emir of Kano, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a former CBN governor, had urged the government to devalue the naira as a necessary measure to curtail the pressure of forex.
However, the CBN boss explained that though that though the bank does not have the power to ban the importation of any item, it will exclude certain items that could be produced locally from obtaining foreign exchange from the Nigerian foreign exchange market.
“We held a stakeholders’ meeting with the organised private sector and prominent and leading private sector stakeholders were at that meeting. It was not meant for the press.
“The purpose of that meeting was to engage the private sector to make the private sector understand that government realises that they are engine of growth and we also used the opportunity to explain to them the basis and purpose of those policies that we have introduced and at the end of that meeting they were very happy.
“They saw our position and indeed at the end of that meeting, some of them in fact provided us with the names of some items that should be included in the list that should be excluded from foreign exchange.
“I must confess that at this stage, given the determination of some of the organised sectors to say that yes, they produce these items and that we should exclude those items from foreign exchange, we are reviewing that list and we may in due course include more items products that can be produced in Nigeria in the list of items that will be excluded from foreign exchange in the Nigerian foreign exchange market.”
On other means of stablising the economy, he had this to say: “There has been a lot of talk on whether or not we want to depreciate our currency again. The truth is that we had adjusted the currency by depreciating it from N155 to N197 in February this year.
“There is no intention to depreciate or adjust the currency any longer.
“The president has been very clear on this. The vice-president has been very clear on this and let me further reiterate our position at the Central Bank of Nigeria, that we are not considering any further depreciation of the currency.
“What we are trying to concentrate on right now is how to improve and deepen the foreign exchange market by improving supply of foreign exchange into the market.
“We are trying to encourage people to export and earn export proceeds and use them to import whatever they need to import.