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Why FG may reverse forex restriction on 41 items, by Expert

A finance expert in Lagos, Dr. Umar Abdullahi has given more reasons why the federal government may be compelled to lift the restriction on 41 items.

In an interview Monday, he told Business Hilights that “The hyper inflation currently hobbling the economy stemmed from the time the ban was imposed because the items were the key engine of manufacturing in Nigeria”.

“If you can remember how the economy was before the ban and compare the situation with now, you will understand that pressure on naira was minimal then than now, meaning that the ban further exacerbated the scourge.

“No government in this current world will include strategic raw materials it has no local substitute in a ban list and that are what we are suffering.

“the figure of 200 being the number of companies that have folded since the ban is wrong because the figure is only for firms that are well known; what of those that are not well known but they were then employing Nigerians. Today all of them have collapsed. Even if government lifts the ban now, it is important to understand that not all of the collapsed firms will come up again.

“Government should not be encouraging local production only in making statement. It should do so in understanding the heart beat of the manufacturing sector and do the needful which is lifting the restriction before few remaining firms will close shops.

Besides, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Assistant Comptroller-General Monday Abueh, had few days ago hinted that the Federal Government may reverse the foreign exchange restriction placed on 41 items imported into the country.

Abueh disclosed this in Ibadan during his familiarisation tour of Oyo/Osun Commands as part of his visits to Customs formations under his jurisdiction.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on July 2015, restricted 41 items, including vegetable oil, poultry products, cosmetics, plastic and rubber products, among others, from access to foreign exchange.

The apex bank had said the country had the capacity to produce those items locally, but analysts disagreed with the apex, saying the capacity is not yet there hence there is no need for the ban.

The Customs chief further noted that when government’s policies were rolled out, they were in the interest of the people, adding that Nigeria could not be enriching other countries by allowing some banned items into the country.

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