The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has explained that Nigeria was able to scale through its recession partly because it was able to restrict foreign exchange access for importation of 41 items.
The Banks governor, Godwin Emefiele therefore defended the policy which he said is in the interest of the economy.
Emefiele while declaring open the 26th Seminar of Financial Correspondents and Business Editors in Lokoja, Kogi State, on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, stated that the implementation of the policy on 41 items, which was an unnecessary drain on the country’s foreign exchange reserve, contributed significantly to getting the Nigerian economy out of recession.
The governor also observed that the growth in the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and improved reserve accretion was equally success indicators.
Speaking on the theme: “Monetary Policy Implementation amidst Global Economic Protectionism,” he said the selective protection policy on forex restriction to some imports was carefully crafted with a view to reversing the multiple challenges of dwindling foreign reserves, contracting GDP-recession and what he described as an embarrassing rise in the level of unemployment that confronted the Nigeria economy at the time.
According to him, the policy was aimed at stimulating the domestic economy in order to enhance domestic production and protect local industries from undue foreign competition and take-over.
Citing the success recorded in the area of import reduction, particularly in rice, in addition to other policy actions of the Bank, he admonished Nigerians to support the policy on 41 items in order to further reduce pressure on the Naira. He also advised that Nigerians should see the policy as an opportunity to change the structure of the economy, resuscitate local manufacturing, and expand job creation for Nigerian citizens.
While also arguing that pragmatic economic nationalism favoured the protection of the domestic economy as long as such an action did not harm its neighbours and trading partners, Mr. Emefiele urged the journalists to continually enlighten their respective audiences on the importance of the subject of economic nationalism to enable citizens better appreciate the efforts of the CBN in improving their lives of Nigerians through its monetary policy initiatives.