Declining revenue: Customs to meet CBN on forex restrictions

Four confirmed dead in CBN Calabar office explosion

…As LCCI advocates CBN forex review

THE Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) intends to consult with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the possible review of the bank’s monetary policy on foreign exchange affecting Customs revenue generation.

According to the Service’s spokesperson, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, the consultation was to see how the policy could be fine-tuned to take care of the negative impact on Customs revenue without necessarily negating the objective of the policy. “What Customs is doing is to start engagement from the government agency to government agency, so we are going to be talking to CBN first to see what can be done in terms of review of policy.”

Meanwhile, the Director-General, LCCI, Muda Yusuf, stated this in Lagos. Yusuf, who applauded the latest CBN policy stopping the sale of forex to Bureau de Change operators, expressed concern that the apex bank was silent on the two critical issues.

He said, “First, the CBN was silent on the exclusion of the 41 items from the foreign exchange market. My submission is that the restriction of the items should as well be immediately reviewed and their transactions possibly restricted to the autonomous foreign exchange market.

“The second concern is the silence on access to export proceeds by exporters. Exporters should be given ample flexibility and freedom in the use of their export proceeds. They should not be deprived of the benefits of prevailing currency market conditions. This would give significant boost to non-oil exports.”

It will be recalled that recently the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) expressed fears over the nation’s economy with the current foreign exchange (forex) policy and its impact on manufacturers and other businesses.

The President, Dr. Frank Udemba who spoke in Lagos said the forex policy will impact negatively on manufacturing sector because members are finding it difficult to source important raw materials.

He called on the Federal Government to make forex available to manufacturers importing raw materials stressing that the policy except reversal will threaten the existence of many companies.

Similarly, the Director General, LCCI, Muda Yusuf, also said in Lagos recently that the forex policy will mean economic nightmare for the nation’s economy in the first quarter of the year, stressing that the policy will lead to mass sack of workers as many factories will be closed down.

He called on the federal government to introduce quick palliative measures, such as fiscal and monetary policies for early economic in the first quarter.