The Central Bank of Nigeria has said it is planning to increase the number of items on its foreign exchange restricted items to 50 from 42.
According to CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, this is to help boost local production and stimulate the export market.
Emefiele stated this at the weekend during an inspection of the Dangote Refinery at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.
The CBN Governor said the apex bank would get more aggressive in ensuring that more items being imported into the country were added to the forex restriction list.
Emefiele, who described the Dangote refinery as a transformational project for Nigeria, said the project keyed into the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration which include conserving forex and diversifying the economy.
He said: “To put it in proper perspective, by the time you dimension the size of the foreign exchange we use in importing petroleum products into the country, it is at least one third of the foreign exchange the CBN spends to import items into Nigeria today.
“By the time we add also the 42 items that we have, which certainly we are going to increase from 42 may be to 50 or more in due course because we are going to get more aggressive in ensuring that more and more food items that are being imported into this country are added into the FX restriction list.
“I am saying that by the time we add the savings from the production and export of petroleum products; by the time we also add the foreign exchange that we spend on food items, close to 55 or 60 per cent of what the CBN or what the government spends in funding its foreign exchange operations will be saved in the country.”
The items to be included are cement, margarine, meat and processed meat products, private airplanes/jets, roofing sheets, wooden doors, toothpicks, textiles, soap and cosmetics.
Speaking further, the CBN Governor revealed that the CBN supported the Dangote refinery project with N75bn.
He said: “This (Dangote refinery) is a $9bn project that is being funded not only by Nigerian banks but also by foreign banks.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria itself is contributing close to about N75bn in supporting this project. N75bn is just a drop compared to about $9bn that this project costs.
“By the time this refinery is completed, it will not only service the needs of our domestic economy but shore up our international oil investments.”
Emefiele commended Dangote for his resilience and dedication to create wealth, urging other private refinery licensees to develop capacity to build more refineries.
“I have not seen any licensee approach the bank for credit to build refinery.
“Remember, such licensee will approach his bank, which will in turn assess his capacity to build such a refinery and such a request will be forwarded to the CBN for approval.
“If they have the capacity, we will support them through their banks”, he said.