The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele says the bank’s decision to restrict access to the foreign exchange official window for the importation of 41 items is in the best interest of the nation’s economy.
Emefiele, who made the remarks in his keynote address while declaring open the 26th Seminar of Financial Correspondents and Business Editors in Lokoja, said that Nigerians insatiable taste for foreign goods to the detriment of the domestic economic realities-unemployment and imported inflation; exposed the country’s borders to indiscriminate importation of goods and services.
He explained that the selective protection policy on forex restriction to some imports was carefully crafted with a view to reversing the multiple challenges of dwindling foreign reserves, contracting GDP-recession and tackle the rising level of unemployment in the country at the time.
Emefiele, who was represented by the Director Monetary Policy Department of CBN, Moses Tule noted that the implementation of the policy on 41 items, which he rationalized as unnecessary drains on the country’s foreign exchange reserve, contributed greatly to getting the Nigerian economy out of recession, citing growth in the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and improved reserve accretion as success indicators.
According to him, the policy is aimed at stimulating the domestic economy in order to enhance domestic production and protect local industries from undue foreign competition and take-over.
Citing the success recorded in the area of import reduction, particularly in rice, in addition to other policy actions of the Bank, he admonished Nigerians to support the policy on 41 items in order to further reduce pressure on the Naira. He also advised that Nigerians should see the policy as an opportunity to change the structure of the economy, resuscitate local manufacturing, and expand job creation for Nigerian citizens.
Noting that pragmatic economic nationalism favoured the protection of the domestic economy as long as such an action did not harm its neighbours and trading partners, the banker urged the journalists to continually enlighten their audiences on the importance of the subject of economic nationalism to enable citizens better appreciate the efforts of the bank in improving their lives through its monetary policy initiatives.