Items Not Valid for Foreign Exchange (FX) in the Nigerian FX Markets

In an attempt to sustain the stability of the Foreign Exchange (FX) Market and ensure efficient utilization of Foreign Exchange for the derivation of optimum benefits from goods and services imported into Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently issued a new directive in a circular it distributed.

The directive exempts some imported goods and services from the list of items eligible to access FX at the Nigerian Foreign Exchange markets in order to foster and support local production of these items in the country.

The implication of this development is that importers desiring to import any of the items listed in the aforementioned CBN’s directive would be required to source for FX funds without any recourse to the Nigerian Foreign Exchange market (Interbank market and BBN Intervention).

The list of the affected items are outlined below but may be reviewed as the need arises. However, please note that the importation of these items are not banned.

The items include the following:

Rice
Cement
Margarine
Palm kernel/Palm oil products/vegetables oils
Meat and processed meat products
Vegetables and processed vegetable products
Poultry chicken, eggs, turkey
Private air-planes/jets
Indian incense
Tinned fish in sauce(Geisha)/sardines
Cold rolled steel sheets
Galvanized steel sheets
Roofing sheets
Wheelbarrows
Head pans
Metal boxes and containers
Enamelware
Steel drums
Steel pipes
Wire rods(deformed and not deformed)
Iron rods and reinforcing bard
Wire mesh
Steel nails
Security and razor wine
Wood particle boards and panels
Wood Fibre Boards and Panels
Plywood boards and panels
Wooden doors
Toothpicks
Glass and Glassware
Kitchen utensils
Tableware
Tiles-vitrified and ceramic
Textiles
Woven fabrics
Clothes
Plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers
Soap and cosmetics
Tomatoes/tomato pastes
Eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases

In our view, we understand Share Purchases (item 40 in the list) to be referring to Nigerians who access the foreign exchange market to invest in foreign securities and not foreign investors who inflow funds into Nigeria for the purposes of investment.

The CBN stated this was in a bid to sustain the stability of the foreign exchange market and ensure the efficient utilization of foreign exchange whilst encouraging local production of these items. The CBN also stated clearly that importation of these items are not banned, however importers of these items shall do so using their own funds without recourse to the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Markets.

The implication of this is that there will be reduced demand on the official market which means reduced pressure on the official FX market. However, there will be increased pressure on the parallel Market (Bureau de Change). The gap between the parallel and the official market will widen and the rate for dollars in the parallel market will increase. This will also lead to an increase in the cost of these items locally for consumers and ultimately inflation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s excluded some foreign products and services from the list of item qualified to get Foreign currencies at the Nigerian Foreign Exchange markets.

The effect of this directive is that businesses craving to import any of the delisted items would no longer be able to access foreign currencies from the Nigerian Foreign Exchange market in order to pay for the imported consignments.

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