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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday vowed to deal with individuals and businesses engaging in clandestine activities to frustrate the restriction of foreign exchange on the importation of 41 items into the country.
This is just as the apex bank added fertiliser to the list of items it can no longer allocate forex for its importation into Nigeria – making it 42.
In a statement issued by Ahmed Umar, director, trade and exchange department of the CBN, the bank said the list of the 42 items became effective from December 7, 2018.
Also speaking, the CBN director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo, lamented that the policy was fast being circumvented through the importation and dumping of the goods and services.
Unhappy about the development, Mr Amugo said the Economic Intelligence Unit of the apex bank in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would start the immediate investigation of corporate accounts and entities suspected to be abusing the policy.
The apex bank in a letter to all banks also warned that it would not hesitate to impose severe sanctions on all the culprits and perpetrators of these abuses.
According to Amugo, such sanctions include blacklisting the corporate entities and their directors; closure of their bank accounts, and restricting them from maintaining any bank accounts in any bank under the CBN supervision.
“Banks that provide their platforms for such economic sabotage and abuses would be appropriately sanctioned,” the CBN said.
In June 2015, CBN listed 41 items it said were ineligible for allocation of foreign exchange for their importation, on grounds that they could be competitively produced within the Nigerian economy.
They include rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel, palm oil products, vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and process vegetable products, poultry, tomatoes/tomato paste, soap and cosmetics, and clothes.
Other items included private airplanes/jets, Indian incense, tinned fish in sauce, cold rolled steel sheets, galvanised steel sheets, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows, head pans, metal boxes/containers, enamel ware, steel drums and pipes, wire mesh, steel nails, wood particle boards and panels.
Also included were security and razor wire, wood particle and fibre boards and panels, wooden doors, furniture, toothpicks, glass/glassware, kitchen utensils, tableware, tiles (vitrified, ceramics), textiles, wooden fabrics, plastic/rubber products, polypropylene granules and cellophane wrappers.
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