Nigeria’s exit from economic recession has been attributed largely to increase in oil prices.But the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN does not completely believe this.
While it could not rule out the role improved oil prices played in the getting the economy on the path of positive growth,
it believes its ban on foreign exchange for the importation of listed 41 items also had significant impact.
It said the policy was well thought out as it also assisted greatly in boosting the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which currently stand at about $42.46 billion.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said these at the opening session of a workshop on monetary policy implementation amidst global economic protectionism.
Recall that the CBN had on June 23, 2015, banned importers of 41 items from accessing foreign exchange.
The aim, it said then, was to encourage local production of the items, conserve the foreign reserves, resuscitate domestic industries and boost employment creation.
Some of the items barred from accessing forex at the official market were rice, cement, poultry, tinned fish, furniture, toothpicks, kitchen utensils, table wares, textiles, clothes, tomato pastes, soap and cosmetics.
Also affected were private jets, roofing sheets, metal boxes, wire rods, steel nails, security and razor nails, ceramic tiles, glassware, cellophane, plastic and rubber products.
Emefiele told the workshop on Wednesday that the restriction was a policy that was carefully crafted with a view to reversing the multiple challenges
of dwindling foreign reserves, contracting Gross Domestic Product and an embarrassing rise in the level of unemployment confronting the country.
“This was the prevailing condition in Nigeria before the introduction of restriction of official foreign exchange for the importation of 41 items.
“The implementation of the (restriction of forex for the importation) 41 items, in addition to the other complementary macroeconomic policies, no doubt, was effective in lifting the Nigerian economy out of recession,”
said Emefiele who was represented by the Director, Monetary Policy Department, Mr Moses Tule.