By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The 41 items restricted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from accessing foreign exchange (forex) will not have the opportunity of benefitting from the historic $2.5 billion bilateral currency swap agreement between Nigeria and China, the apex bank has disclosed.
Spokesman of the central bank, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made this clarification in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.
In 2015, the apex bank gave a directive stopping the importation of some goods because they were local substitutes for them.
The policy was to stop importers of the items from buying foreign currency from the official window to pay the overseas suppliers. Rather, they will have to source forex from the parallel market or Bureau De Change to pay for their imports.
Speaking at the weekend, Mr Okorafor explained that the exemption of the 41 items will ensure that the currency deal does not stifle local companies and make Nigeria a dumping ground for Chinese goods.
“The fear is unfounded and I’ll give you reasons why. The first one is that we are going to focus on exports to China.
“Also, remember that we already export cassava products to China as well as leather, hides and skin amongst others.
“So, this deal will open further the export market to China. Also, I want Nigerians to know that the items that will come in are not necessarily finished goods.
“So, the issue of Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for China does not arise.
“This is because the 41 items that had initially been banned from the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market will still not qualify under the deal,” the apex bank’s image maker told reporters.
Business Post reports that these 41 banned items are rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel/palm oil products/vegetables oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and processed vegetable products/poultry chicken/eggs/turkey, private airplanes/jets, Indian incense, tinned fish in sauce(Geisha)/sardines, cold rolled steel sheets, galvanized steel sheets, roofing sheets, and wheelbarrows.
Others are head pans, metal boxes and containers, enamelware, steel drums, steel pipes, wire rods (deformed and not deformed), iron rods and reinforcing bard, wire mesh, steel nails, security and razor wine, wood particle boards and panels, wood fibre boards and panels, plywood boards and panels, wooden doors, and toothpicks.
Also on the list are glass and glassware, kitchen utensils, tableware, tiles-vitrified and ceramic, textiles, woven fabrics, clothes, plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers, soap and cosmetics, tomatoes/tomato pastes, and Eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases.
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