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Forex ban on 41 items lifted Nigeria out of recession – Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the restriction of forex supply on 41 items including rice and toothpicks helped in lifting the economy out of recession.

Emefiele, while addressing journalists on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of a seminar for finance correspondents and business editors in Lokoja, said the policy helped in reversing the multiple challenges of dwindling foreign reserves.

“In today’s world, countries have used trade protection repeatedly as a policy to resolve negative perceptions and shocks in their respective countries,” the governor, who was represented by Moses Tule, director of CBN’s monetary policy department, said.

“In other words, should Nigeria, with an insatiable taste for foreign goods to the detriment of the domestic economic realities, throw its borders open to the indiscriminate importation of goods and services?

“This was the prevailing condition in Nigeria before the introduction of restriction of official foreign exchange for the importation of 41 items.

“The implementation of the (restriction of forex for the importation) 41 items, in addition to the other complementary macroeconomic policies, no doubt, was effective in lifting the Nigerian economy out of recession.”

The CBN had on June 23, 2015, placed a ban on providing forex for the importation of 41 items to conserve reserves and encourage local production of the items.

Some of the items are tomato paste,furniture cement, textiles, roofing sheets and poultry.

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