A few weeks ago, specifically May 06, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) insisted that it will continue to block the importation of maize into the country by denying importers access to foreign exchange.
The announcement was to reiterate that its June 23, 2015 forex restrictions were still in force. In 2015, the apex bank banned some products that could be produced locally in Nigeria.
In a communique entitled, “List of items not valid for foreign exchange at the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Window”, the decision was to boost local production, Mr Olakanmi Gbadamosi, CBN’s Director of Trade and Exchange Department had said.
Is the ban still valid?
Yes, the ban is still in force. And the apex bank has not shown any sign that it would rescind its decision soon.
More items could be added if the bankers’ bank deems it fix for it to regulate the FX market and to strengthen the capacity of local producers of similar items.
More than a dozen times since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 2015, he had said Nigerians must produce what they consume.
Consequently, the Godwin Emefiele-led CBN through several policies has rolled out several packages to encourage local productions while enforcing stringent policies to block importers from accessing forex to import the items.
The Only Exception
When the apex bank says certain goods can’t be imported through FX, most times, there are exceptions particularly when there is a need to meet emergency production and to mitigate crisis.
For instance, on September 4, 2020, CBN announced emergency importation of maize by commissioning four companies- Chi farms Limited, Wacot Limited, Premier Feeds Company Limited, and Crown Flour Mills Limited – to carry out the importation.
When there are exceptions like the one described above, the Nigeria Customs Service is usually alerted.
Are The Items Banned By CBN The Same As Customs Contraband Products?
While customs prohibited items from importation are products that are banned for security reasons or medical reasons, items that are banned by the apex bank are basically restricted in order to boost local production of such goods.
“It has become imperative to exclude Importers of some goods and services accessing foreign exchange at the Nigerian foreign exchange markets in order to encourage local production of these Items,” CBN had said in 2015, a few months Buhari was sworn in
For instance, the importation of AK47, bombs, or weaponry into Nigeria is permanently or absolutely not allowed to be imported by an individual or organisation or state except the Federal Government. It’s for security reasons.
For the restricted forex importation of goods like maize and rice, the items are not absolutely “illegal” for consumption or use, but because the inflow of such items into Nigeria will not only put pressure on the insufficient forex, it would also affect local production.
What to do when you’re expecting delivery of goods when CBN announced forex restriction for such products
In a situation whereby you had placed an order for a certain product before it was restricted by the CBN, it’s very important to resubmit form M at a designated bank that has a forex licence in order to inform the apex bank of the day payment which must also contain the following details:
- Company name
- MF Number
- Form Date
- HS Code, and
- Mode of payment
Items that can’t be accessed through forex market are:
- Metal boxes and containers
- Kitchen utensils
- Meat and processed meat products
- Vegetables and processed vegetable products
- Poultry chicken, eggs, turkey
- Private airplanes/jets
- Indian incense
- Palm kernel/Palm oil products/vegetable oils
- Steel drums
- Steel pipes
- Glass and Glassware
- Galvanized steel sheets
- Tiles-vitrified and ceramic
- Woven fabrics
- Tinned fish in sauce(Geisha)/sardines
- Cold rolled steel sheets
- Plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers
- Roofing sheets
- Head pans
- Wire rods(deformed and not deformed)
- Security and razor wine
- Wood particle boards and panels
- Wood Fibre Boards and Panels
- Plywood boards and panels
- Wooden doors
- Iron rods and reinforcing bard
- Soap and cosmetics
- Tomatoes/Tomatoes pastes
- Euro bond/Foreign currency Bond/share purchases
- Wire mesh
- Steel nails
What does this mean?
Importers and exporters are expected to stay on top of the trending news in international trade. Know what the government allows and what has been restricted in order to avoid your goods from being seized by the Customs.