The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has renewed its appeal to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to remove some items from the foreign exchange restriction list.
The President of MAN, Mr Frank Udemba, made the appeal in an interview on Friday in Abuja. Udemba said that some of the 41 items in the list were essential raw materials for many manufacturers across key sectors, and could not be presently sourced locally.
He said that the affected manufacturers would soon run short of stock of those inputs and be forced to shut down with the attendant social implication of massive job losses. “Information reaching me from our members is that by the end of March, many of those companies will start closing shop, leading to massive job losses.
“The 41 items involve a lot of things such that when broken down into the Customs Harmonised Service (HS) Codes, you have a total of 680 products. “Based on our analysis, 95 out of the 680 products are essential industrial raw materials for our members but cannot be sourced in this country for now,’’ Udemba said.
He said the association had tabled its concerns before the CBN and requested for the removal of the 95 items from the list, at least for the time being. “We are saying they should allocate Forex to our members to import those 95 items pending when local substitutes can be created for them.
“They can give us a time frame of between 18 months and two years to develop the local product capacity for the items before including them in the list. “This will give our members and other investors time to invest in backward integration projects for those raw materials.’’
It would be recalled that the CBN issued a circular in June 2015 excluding importers of 41 products from accessing foreign exchange at the official Forex markets.
The apex bank said the policy was part of measures to preserve the country’s depleting external reserves and protect local industries.