Exporters reject CBN directive on export proceeds

Stakeholders in the non-oil export sector have rejected the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new guidelines on the utilisation of export proceeds.

The stakeholders, comprising heads of all commodity associations in the country, rejected the policy on the grounds that it was a disincentive to exportation. They noted further that the policy contradicted the stand of the Federal government on the growth of the non-oil sector of the economy.

The CBN on February 19 issued a circular in respect of the repatriation of export proceeds. The circular under the subject, ‘Repatriation of export   proceeds (oil and non-oil), had mandated all authorised dealers to repatriate proceeds of oil and non-oil exports into the export proceeds domiciliary accounts of their respective exporters.

The circular signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department of the CBN, Olakanmi Gbadamosi, stipulated 90 days for the repatriation of oil export proceeds and 180 days for non-oil exports.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, the National President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria, Tola Faseru, said exporters were taken aback by the policy adding that it was not good for the economy and was also not in tandem with the transformation agenda of the Federal government.

Faseru said the policy was bound to discourage people from investing in the non-oil sector while having a negative effect on transparency.

He said, “The government has been portrayed as one that is interested in diversifying the economy and lately the economic council listed about 13 strategic commodities that will be employed to achieve diversification of the economy. But a policy limiting the free access of exporters to their export proceeds is inimical to the growth of the economy.

He said, “The sector had been stagnant for years and Nigeria had been continually import-dependent. By 2006, we had a policy initiated by the then CBN governor, Professor Charles Soludo, which favoured the liberalisation of the foreign exchange market.”

He said that the new policy by the CBN sought to gag exporters in the utilisation of foreign exchange.

The exporters charged the government to revisit the policy saying it amounted to policy summersault.

Also speaking, the National President, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria, Victor Iyama, observed that stakeholders in the sector fought hard to bring about the liberalisation policy on export proceeds and the sector had been working to increase the revenue coming from it but with the new policy, the sector would experience a serious setback.

He said, “People are interested in investing in the sector but the new policy will not allow them to work. The export expansion grant of the government was not working because people were not allowed to use their certificates. Since the EEG is not working therefore, government should not frustrate the effort that is now encouraging exports.”

Iyama said further that the exporters were not interested in the illegal sale of money, noting that before liberalisation, banks took money from exporters and used the money as they pleased, but with the policy, exporters negotiated with their chosen banks about their preferred rates without the banks dictating their rates.

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