The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to sanction any bank, company or foreign exchange operator that engage in any act that undermines the policy of 41 items not allowed in the official foreign exchange (FX) window.
CBN governor Mr Godwin Emefiele gave the warning in his address at the at the 2018 Annual Bankers’ Dinner held in Lagos on Friday.
According to Emefiele, “CBN’s Economic intelligence and Banking Supervision Departments will work very hard with the EFCC to expose and sanction any bank, company or Fx operator that colludes with unscrupulous individuals /companies to undermine the policy on 41 items.”
Such sanctions he said, will include, but not limited to prohibiting the banks from maintaining any bank accounts for such institutions or persons in Nigeria.
Given the remarkable success that has been achieved in stimulating domestic production of goods such as rice, cassava and maize, as a result of the restrictions placed by the CBN on access to forex for 41 items, the CBN according to him, intends to vigorously ensure that this policy remains in place.
He reiterated that, “additional efforts would be made to block any attempts by unscrupulous parties (both individuals and corporates) that intend to find other avenues of accessing forex, in order to import these items into Nigeria.
Also, the governor said that given the global and domestic headwinds being faced as a nation, and the volatility that is being experienced in the crude oil market, the bank has no other option, but to work very hard to spur job creation by reviving agricultural and industrial activities in the country.
“If we continue to support the growth of small holders farmers, as well as help to revive palm oil refineries, rice mills, cassava and gelato processing factories, you can only imagine the amount of wealth and jobs that will be created in the country,” he stated.
Given increased oil related inflows and contained import bill, Emefiele said that sustaining a stable exchange rate is of overriding importance to CBN, even as the bank continues to put measures in place to shore up reserves.