The House of Representatives has issued a summons to Yemi Cardoso, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), regarding the recent decision to lift the Foreign Exchange restrictions on 43 items being imported into the country. This development came in response to a motion of urgent public importance presented by Sada Soli Jibia (APC, Katsina) during the Plenary on Tuesday,Daily Trust report.
In his motion, he recalled that in June 2015, the CBN had imposed these restrictions to safeguard foreign exchange reserves and stimulate local production of specific goods, including approximately 11 food items. However, he pointed out that on October 12, 2023, the apex bank made an announcement that included the removal of Foreign Exchange restrictions on the previously mentioned 43 items.
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Soli emphasized that some of these items have tariffs in place to protect local industries and are part of the import prohibition list. He expressed concerns about the consequences of the CBN’s decision, particularly its impact on local production of goods such as rice, cement, and palm oil. This move, he argued, would place local manufacturers at a disadvantage, potentially leading to factory closures and undermining the nation’s ability to foster its domestic economy.
Furthermore, he highlighted that nearly all of the 43 items fall within two vital sectors that have consistently been recognized in policy documents, from NEEDS and SEEDS to Vision 2022, as critical for economic diversification. Some of these listed items benefit from significant subsidies (ranging from 60% to 70%) in their countries of origin, thereby subjecting Nigeria’s local products to a comparative disadvantage. This, in turn, could result in job losses and social exclusion.