LCCI advocates review of CBN’s import, export policies

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review its import and export policies, particularly the exclusion of 41 items from the forex market.

It also wants a change to the policy preventing exporters from having access to their export proceeds.

The Director-General, LCCI, Muda Yusuf, stated this in Lagos.

Yusuf, who applauded the latest CBN policy stopping the sale of forex to Bureau de Change operators, expressed concern that the apex bank was silent on the two critical issues.

He said, “First, the CBN was silent on the exclusion of the 41 items from the foreign exchange market. My submission is that the restriction of the items should as well be immediately reviewed and their transactions possibly restricted to the autonomous foreign exchange market.

“The second concern is the silence on access to export proceeds by exporters. Exporters should be given ample flexibility and freedom in the use of their export proceeds. They should not de deprived of the benefits of prevailing currency market conditions.  This would give a significant boost to non-oil exports.”

The CBN, in February 2015, gave instruction to all exporters to pay their export proceeds into the domiciliary accounts of their respective commercial banks.

Observers have noted that this policy which compels exporters to sell their dollars to the CBN at the official exchange rate of N199/dollar instead of the parallel market rate of N250 is hurting the non-oil export sector and discouraging exporters from investing in the sector.

Also, the 41 banned items from the official forex market has generated a lot of outcries from stakeholders in the manufacturing sector who insist that some of the items are essential inputs for manufacturing. 

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