Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said the decision by federal government to restrict the importation of 41 items has led to the recovery of the nation’s economy from recession it slipped into in the second quarter of 2016.
Speaking at the recently held 53rd annual bankers’ dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the CBN chief said if not, the recovery may have been weaker.
“Based on our internal research conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria, there is strong evidence that the recovery from recession may have been much weaker, even negative without the implementation of the restriction on the 41 items,” Mr Emefiele said.
He therefore, warned companies conniving with unscrupulous individuals to contravene the apex bank’s 41 items forex restriction to immediately desist, emphasising that refusal to heed this warning would necessitate repercussions.
He said further that one of the punishments for defaulters will come in the form of restrictions placed on their accounts with the CBN, revealing that the central bank was working in partnership with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commensurately punish defaulters.
“The CBN’s economic intelligence and banking supervision department will work very close with the EFCC to expose and sanction any bank or company whose directors or FX operator colluded with unscrupulous individuals or companies to undermine the policy on 41 items.
“Such sanction will include but not limited to prohibiting the banks from maintaining bank account for such institution or person in Nigeria,” the CBN Governor said.
The 41 items banned by the CBN range from consumer goods like rice to industrial goods like cement. As we analysed back in 2015 when the restrictions were imposed, the decision was part of CBN’s desperate measures to control Nigerians’ demand for hard currency dollar at a time when recession was hitting hard and the economy was struggling.
Mr Emefiele believes this measure has yielded results by encouraging local production and stimulating economic growth; hence the need to sustain it.
He further reiterated the CBN’s commitment towards ensuring that local production of goods and services are intensified in the country.