By Etuka Sunday & Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lokoja
The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has again said that the decision of the Bank to restrict access to the foreign exchange official window for the importation of 41 items was in the best interest of the Nigerian economy.
Mr. Emefiele stated this in Lokoja, Kogi State, on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, while declaring open the 26th Seminar of Financial Correspondents and Business Editors.
The CBN’s arrow head said, the restriction has spurred local production of toothpicks and rice which were hitherto being imported into the country.
Recall, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo while speaking at the just concluded economic summit in Abuja, affirmed, that through the policy of CBN on rice, the Country has been able to reduce the importation of rice by 90 per cent.
Speking in his keynote address on the theme: “Monetary Policy Implementation amidst Global Economic Protectionism,” the Governor said the selective protection policy on forex restriction to some imports was carefully crafted with a view to reversing the multiple challenges of dwindling foreign reserves, contracting GDP-recession and what he described as an embarrassing rise in the level of unemployment that confronted the Nigeria economy at the time.
He noted that the implementation of the policy on 41 items, which he rationalized as unnecessary drains on the country’s foreign exchange reserve, contributed greatly to getting the Nigerian economy out of recession, citing growth in the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and improved reserve accretion as success indicators.
According to him, the policy was aimed at stimulating the domestic economy in order to enhance domestic production and protect local industries from undue foreign competition and take-over.
Citing the success recorded in the area of import reduction, particularly in rice, in addition to other policy actions of the Bank, he admonished Nigerians to support the policy on 41 items in order to further reduce pressure on the Naira. He also advised that Nigerians should see the policy as an opportunity to change the structure of the economy, resuscitate local manufacturing, and expand job creation for Nigerian citizens.
While also arguing that pragmatic economic nationalism favoured the protection of the domestic economy as long as such an action did not harm its neighbours and trading partners, Mr. Emefiele urged the journalists to continually enlighten their respective audiences on the importance of the subject of economic nationalism to enable citizens better appreciate the efforts of the CBN in improving their lives of Nigerians through its monetary policy initiatives.