CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

A financial expert on Monday called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the forex restriction placed on 41 items imported into the country.

Dr Uche Uwaleke, the Head of Accounting Department, Nasarawa State University,  made the suggestion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

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He said the review is needed especially for items critical to the economic development of the country.

The university don said a number of the restrictions should stay in place until the nation’s export base was well-diversified.

The apex bank said that the country has the capacity to produce those items locally.

He praised the CBN on its deft management of the forex crisis in the face of a floating naira.

“I would score the CBN a pass mark. It would be suicidal for the value of the naira to be left completely to market forces on account of the disequilibrium in favour of the demand side.

“Until the country’s export base is sufficiently diversified and there are sustainable multiple streams of forex, the restrictions on a number of items from accessing forex from the CBN should remain,” Uwaleke said.

He stated that the introduction of the future segment had gone a long way in reducing pressure on the spot market.

According to him, the CBN should improve on market transparency due to allegations of multiple exchange rates in use.

“Much as it makes sense to adopt a concessional window for critical manufacturing inputs and fuel imports if the pump price of fuel must remain at present level, it is unacceptable to use preferential rates for top government officials,” he said.

Uwaleke said that the CBN should not contemplate the idea of using force to extinguish the parallel market as this would fail, pointing to Venezuela and Egypt as examples.

The CBN had in July, 2015 restricted about 41 items that include vegetable oil, poultry products, cosmetics and plastic and rubber products from access to foreign exchange from its official window.