CBN’s Ban On 40 Products | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Our View, Views

CBN’s Ban On 40 Products

Posted: Jun 30, 2015 at 2:21 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

If there is any practical step taken by the Federal Government in the last couple of years to show its seriousness about rejuvenating Nigeria’s dwindling economy, it is last week’s decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to bar 40 products from having access to the forex window officially. The measure is meant to encourage local production of goods, especially in the areas where the country has a comparative advantage.  It is a long time ago that Nigeria last witnessed a clear practical step which tends to give impetus to local industries for optimum performance. It is a major breakthrough and also a mark of earnestness towards pulling the country out of its pitiable economic doldrums. 

CBN should not only withdraw its support for the importation of the itemised goods but should also extend the measure to all other goods which Nigeria has the potential of producing. We cannot continue to depend on foreign products and expect our Foreign Reserves to grow. The Presidency needs to be notified officially about this laudable development with a view to making the President issue an outright ban on the named products and their kinds. It is sweet music to the ear that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has promised to sanction banks and bureau de change operators who provide forex for importers of the 40 restricted items.

It is ridiculous that toothpick is among the imported goods which drain our foreign reserves. It is laughable and shameful to also find palm-kernel, palm-oil products, vegetable oil, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and processed vegetable products making the list. These are products which litter our grounds in Nigeria. Some other ridiculous items on the list are wooden doors, poultry chickens, eggs, turkey, rice, cement, margarine and geisha/sardines. Others are private airplanes/jets, cold rolled steel sheets, roofing sheets, wheel barrows, head pans, metal boxes and containers, enamel ware, steel drums, steel nails, plywood boards, wooden doors and so forth.

We share Emefiele’s dreams and worries. We agree that Nigeria cannot attain its true potential by importing everything. The Governor rightly noted that despite Nigeria’s GDP growth in recent years, unemployment and poverty still ravaged the polity. The way out of the quagmire is to start feeding ourselves as a nation and producing much of what we need. This will enhance job creation and reduce import bills, significantly. Indeed, we agree with the Governor that it is absurd to import rice when paddy rice of comparable quality produced by poor, hardworking, local farmers across the rice belts of Nigeria, are ignored and wasted. These desperate importers can go into processing the locally produced rice or developing our vast expanses of arable land for rice cultivation. We cannot continue to dwell on derision by creating jobs for other countries at the expense of our own country and expect our naira to appreciate.

CBN has advised importers who may want to continue bringing the banned goods and services into the country to source their foreign exchange from elsewhere. This shows that the apex bank is determined to implement these seeming reforms in earnest. We encourage all and sundry to support the CBN in this new policy measure because it has the propensity for engendering self-sufficiency in Nigeria, reducing people’s appetite for foreign goods and putting our economy on the threshold of recovery.