The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said the apex bank’s decision to restrict access to the foreign exchange (forex) official window for the importation of 41 items, is in the best interest of the Nigerian economy. Emefile said this at the 26th Seminar for financial journalists, with the theme: “Monetary Policy Implementation amidst Global Economic Protectionism,” held in Lokoja, Kogi State.
In his keynote address, he noted that the selective protection policy on forex restriction to some imports was carefully positioned, with a view to reversing the numerous challenges of dwindling foreign reserves, contracting Gross Domestic Product (GDP), recession, and the embarrassing rise of unemployment that confront the Nation.
He maintained that the implementation of the policy on the 41 items contributed greatly to getting the Nigerian economy out of recession, citing growth in the real GDP, and improved reserve accretion as success indicators.
He rationalised the 41 items as unnecessary drain on the country’s forex reserve, saying the policy is aimed at stimulating the domestic economy to enhance domestic production, and protect local industries from undue foreign competition and take-over.Dwelling on the success recorded in the area of import reduction, specifically on rice importation, in addition to other policy actions of the Bank, Emefiele urged Nigerians to support the policy on the 41 items to further reduce pressure on the Naira.
He advised Nigerians to see the policy as an opportunity to change the structure of the economy, resuscitate local manufacturing, and expand job creation for Nigerian citizens.He argued that pragmatic economic nationalism favours the protection of the domestic economy, as long as such action did not harm its neighbours and trading partners.
He also urged participants to continually enlighten their respective audiences on the importance of economic nationalism, to enable citizens better appreciate the efforts of the CBN in improving the lives of Nigerians through its monetary policy initiatives.