CBN lifts ban on cement, 42 items, increases dollar supply

Olayemi Cardoso
Olayemi Cardoso

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has removed restrictions placed on 43 items, including cement, which were initially not qualified for forex at the official market.

This comes after the naira fell to 1,050/$ at the parallel market on Thursday.

Despite the unavailability of forex for banned items by CBN, Nigerians imported five items worth N543bn in the first quarter of 2023.

Also, Nigerians imported not less than nine items worth N18.12tn from the forex ban list of the CBN between 2016 and 2022.

According to an analysis of Nigerian Foreign Trade reports of the National Bureau of Statistics from 2016 to 2022, items such as crude palm oil, vegetable products, animal products, meat, vegetable fats and oil, steel products, rubber, plastic, clothes, and textiles were imported from various countries.

The importations have further put a strain on forex as importers flocked to the black market for forex.

Announcing the removal of restrictions in a statement on Thursday by the bank’s spokesman Isa AbdulMumin, the CBN said: “Importers of all the 43 items previously restricted by the 2015 circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/010, and its addendums are now allowed to purchase foreign exchange in the Nigerian foreign exchange market.”

The apex bank said it would continue to promote orderliness and professional conduct by all Nigerian foreign exchange market participants to ensure market forces determined exchange rates on a willing buyer – willing seller principle.

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It added, “The CBN reiterates that the prevailing foreign exchange rates should be referenced from platforms such as the CBN website, FMDQ and other recognised or appointed trading systems to promote price discovery, transparency, and credibility in the FX rates.

“As part of its responsibility to ensure price stability, the CBN will boost liquidity in the Nigerian foreign exchange market by interventions from time to time. As market liquidity improves, these CBN interventions will gradually decrease.”

The statement said the CBN was committed to accelerating efforts to clear the FX backlog with existing participants and would continue dialogue with stakeholders to address the issue.

It stated, “The CBN has set as one of its goals the attainment of a single FX market. Consultation is ongoing with market participants to achieve this goal. Participants and the general public are to be guided by the above.”

This comes as part of interventions from the new CBN governor, Olayemi Cardoso.