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Reps Summon CBN Governor Over Lifting of FX Ban on 43 Items

The House of Representatives called upon Mr. Yemi Cardoso, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday to explain the decision to lift the ban on 43 items that were previously restricted from accessing foreign exchange in 2015. This summons came during a session presided over by Speaker Hon. Tajudeen Abbas. The resolution followed the introduction of an urgent motion by Hon. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina).

Hon. Soli argued that the CBN’s policy change would have a negative impact on local production by exposing the Nigerian market to unfair competition. He expressed concerns that this decision could potentially harm the Nigerian economy and allow middlemen to exploit the new policy.

During the debate, Hon. Jesse Onuakalusi, a lawmaker representing the Oshodi/Isolo II federal constituency of Lagos, proposed that the CBN should revert to the previous policy until a legislative decision was reached. However, this proposal was rejected by Speaker Tajudeen Abbas.

To provide context, it’s worth noting that in June 2015, the Central Bank had announced that 41 items were “Not Valid for Foreign Exchange” because they could be easily produced in Nigeria. The list included items such as rice, cement, margarine, and various other products. Later, the CBN added fertilizer and maize/corn to the list. However, on October 12, 2023, the CBN announced the restoration of these 43 items to the official foreign exchange platform.

During the Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja, President Bola Tinubu explained that the decision aimed to draw a clear line between monetary policy and fiscal policy, emphasizing that these items were not on a trade embargo. Instead, they were moved to the parallel market to promote competition and stimulate economic growth.

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