CBN Assures Forex Market Liquidity, Lifts Ban On 43 Items

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has restated its commitment to boost liquidity in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market, and has opened the floodgates for the previously restricted 43 items by Mr. Godwin Emefiele-led administration to access Forex for importation.

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CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Dr. Isa AbdulMumin disclosed the development in a statement on Thursday.

The apex bank 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”.

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Dr. AbdulMumin assures that the bank would continue to promote orderliness and professional conduct by all participants in the Nigerian FX Market to ensure that 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 in the FX rates.

Dr. AbdulMumin said, “as part of its responsibility to ensure price stability, the CBN would boost liquidity in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market by interventions from time to time. As market liquidity improves, these CBN interventions will gradually decrease.

“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”, the statement added.

Recall, in 2015, the CBN under the suspended governor, Godwin Emefiele imposed a forex ban on 41 items, and later 43 that could be produced in Nigeria.

Some of the items were rice, cement, poultry, margarine, palm kernel, palm oil products, vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables, and processed vegetable products, poultry, tomatoes/tomato paste, soap, cosmetics, clothes, and others.

The apex bank restricted access to foreign
exchange at the official window, and asked the importers of these items to approach the parallel market to source for the forex, if they must import.

The ban, according to the Emefiele-led CBN was to encourage local production of these items and reduce Nigeria’s dependence on imports.

As of June this year, CBN maintained an unshakable stand on the 43 items, banning them from the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window. Nevertheless, all that has changed with the new directive

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