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CBN LIFTS FOREX BAN ON 41 ITEMS FOR SMEs

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lifted the restriction on 41 items listed as ineligible for foreign exchange for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

The Apex bank in a circular quoted by Reuters said: “Importers of items classified as not valid for forex with transactions value of $20,000 and below per quarter shall now qualify for allocation of foreign exchange”.

Consequently, the restriction still exists for businesses with transaction value above $20,000 per quarter.

In June 2015, less than a month after President Muhammadu Buhari took office, the CBN placed capital controls on the country’s flow of foreign exchange in a bid to conserve scarce forex.

The CBN listed 41 items as ineligible for foreign exchange via the official window to include; toothpick, tomato paste, rice, cement, margarine, private jets.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, had argued that aim of the restriction was to drive local production of goods and services within the Nigerian system.

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