Shippers’ Association Lagos State has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government’s ban on sales of foreign exchange to importers of rice, private jets, textiles, tomato paste and poultry products. Rev. Jonathan Nicole, the president of the association, said the government has the right to protect its economy.
According to him, Government has the right to protect the economy in any possible way they know will bring a balance to the economy. “If the Government feels that they are losing too much foreign exchange to importation, they have the right to streamline it and approve certain commodities to be under control. So, we support it in a way because we believe it will reduce import of some on these commodities.”
Nicole, however, advised Shippers’ who might be affected by the policy to turn to importation of other commodities. “Business goes with change and if you are used to importing a particular item and you feel very uncomfortable because of Government’s restriction on forex, you can change and start bringing in some other commodities.”
It would be recalled that the Federal Government recently stopped the sales of foreign exchange to importers of rice, private jets, textiles, tomato paste, poultry products.
The CBN, in a circular dated June 23, 2015, stated that the implementation of the policy would help to conserve foreign reserves and facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries as well as generate employment.
The circular reads, “In the continuing efforts to sustain the
stability of the forex market and ensure efficient utilisation of forex and the derivation of optimum benefits from goods and services imported into the country, it has become imperative to exclude importers of some goods and services from accessing foreign exchange at the Nigerian forex markets in order to encourage local production of these items.
“The implementation of the policy will help conserve foreign reserves as well as facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries and improve employment generation. “For the avoidance of doubt, please note that the importation of these items is not banned, thus importers desirous of importing these items shall do so using their funds without any recourse to the Nigerian foreign exchange market.”
The list of 40 items include cement, margarine, palm kernel, vegetable oil, poultry products (chicken, eggs and turkey), Indian incense, tinned fish in sauce (Geisha, Sardines), cold rolled steel sheets, galvanized steel, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows, head pans, metal boxes and containers, and enamel ware.
Others are steel drums, steel pipes, wire mesh, steel nails, wire rods, security wire, wood particles and board, wood fibre boards and panel, plywood board and panel, wooden doors, toothpicks, glass and glassware, kitchen utensils, tableware, tiles and wooden fabrics, plastic and rubber products, and soap and cosmetics.
By Pita Ochai