Emefiele defends CBN’s forex restriction on 41 items


The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on Wednesday restated that the decision to restrict access to the bank’s foreign exchange official window for the importation of 41 items is in the best interest of the Nigerian economy.

He stated this in his keynote address on the theme: “Monetary Policy Implementation amidst Global Economic Protectionism,” in Lokoja, Kogi State, October 24, 2018, while declaring open the 26th Seminar of Financial Correspondents and Business Editors.

Emefiele explained that the selective protection policy on forex restriction to some imports was carefully crafted to reversing the multiple challenges of dwindling foreign reserves, contracting GDP-recession and what he described as an embarrassing rise in the level of unemployment that confronted the Nigeria economy at the time.

He noted that the implementation of the policy on 41 items, which he rationalized as unnecessary drains on the country’s foreign exchange reserve, contributed greatly to getting the Nigerian economy out of recession, citing growth in the real Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and improved reserve accretion as success indicators.

According to him, the policy was aimed at stimulating the domestic economy in order to enhance domestic production and protect local industries from undue foreign competition and take-over. Citing the success recorded in the area of import reduction, particularly in rice, in addition to other policy actions of the Bank, he admonished Nigerians to support the policy on 41 items in order to further reduce pressure on the Naira.

The CBN governor also advised that Nigerians should see the policy as an opportunity to change the structure of the economy, resuscitate local manufacturing, and expand job creation for Nigerian citizens.

While arguing that pragmatic economic nationalism favoured the protection of the domestic economy as long as such an action did not harm its neighbours and trading partners, he urged journalists to continually enlighten their respective audiences on the importance of the subject of economic nationalism to enable citizens better appreciate the efforts of the CBN in improving their lives of Nigerians through its monetary policy initiatives.

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