Nigeria lost $1.4bn to ban on 43 items from official forex market

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Abuja, Feb. 9, 2024 – Nigeria lost about $1.4 billion over the restriction of 43 items from the official foreign exchange market between 2015 and 2019.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had in 2015, introduced a policy which banned 43 items from sourcing foreign exchange at the official market.

The items included tomato, rice, cement, poultry products and others.

Muhammed Sani Abdullahi, the Deputy Governor of the CBN in charge of Economic Policy, said this on Friday before the Senate Committees on Banking and Finance.

He said that the ban of the 43 items from foreign exchange market contributed to the current inflation in the country.  

Abdullahi said that the ban of the items was not even a responsibility of the apex bank, but that of the fiscal authorities.

“When we assumed duty at the bank, we realised the bank has been involved in areas which were not central banking. One of them is trade policy. Central banks do not have responsibility for trade policy. It is a fiscal issue. 

“What happened was that 43 items were identified and denied foreign exchange. They were never banned from the borders.

“What it resulted in was that the country collectively lost $1.4 billion between 2015 and 2019 because of the FX ban on these particular items.

“The second part is that they fuelled inflation as it increased the prices of these products”   (GBN)

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