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Eliminate 41 restricted items, if you hope to get unified exchange rate—Soludo warns CBN

Indication has emerged that the conjuncture and or dreams of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to rely on the prevailing restriction of 41 items from forex window and momentary injection of dollars to the market will drive unified exchange rate regime, remains a farce.

This was the submission of former CBN Governor and outspoken finance affairs analyst, Prof Chukwuma Soludo at a recent conference in Lagos on Nigeria’s current foreign exchange and interest rate policies.

The Anambra State-born monetary tactician advised CBN to “Eliminate the so-called 41 items. You cannot unify the forex market with those kinds of things. You have two ways, if you don’t want things to come in. You can use the exchange rate and the commercial policy, raise the tariffs on them. If it is expensive for people to import, they will not import them. That is how to do it on a sustainable basis”.

“As day follows night, if not done by this regime, subsequent regime will eliminate those kinds of things. The current way we are doing it is adhoc, costly, distortionary and harmful to the economy.”

Before now, CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor, had maintained that the CBN’s stand remains not to drop the policy or bow to “self-serving” interests.

CBN averred further that “We have observed with great concern the continued and unwarranted attack on our policies by a group of Nigerians, whose real interests, findings have shown, are anything near altruistic, but rather self-serving and unpatriotic”.

Several finance and monetary analysts have made serious reservations on the current policy regime of the CBN, saying it may not be the best, given the indices at play in the Nigerian economy after all.

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