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Published On: Tue, Dec 11th, 2018

CBN to blacklist importers of 41 ban items

Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

FELIX OLOYEDE

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to blacklist all companies and their directors who flout its directive on 41 items that were tagged not valid for foreign exchange.

The regulator in a circular issued on Monday stated that it will ban any organization and its director caught importing these ban items through the back door into the country, after accessing forex from CBN’s official window, from operating any bank account in any bank within its remit.  

The apex bank had on July 1, 2015 listed 41 items which were not eligible to access forex from the official window, due to acute shortage of foreign exchange in the country, occasioned by significant drop in price of oil, which is Nigeria’s main forex earner.

“This policy has resulted in massive investments and the establishment of cottage industries that now engage in the production of the restricted items across the country. The growth and employment benefits have been phenomenal,” it explained.

The CBN disclosed that it discovered that importers were circumventing the directive, dumping these restricted items in the country, thereby eroding the employment opportunity the local production of these items offers.

“The CBN views this development with trepidation. The Economic Intelligence Unit of the bank in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission would commence immediate investigation of accounts of corporates and entities involved in this unwholesome act with a view to visiting a severe sanction on all culprits,” the apex said.

The CBN also threatened to mete out severe sanction on banks whose platforms were used to perpetuate this economic abuse.

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