Buhari asks central bank to blacklist firms smuggling 43 restricted items into the country

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President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to blacklist any firm, its owner and top executives caught smuggling any of the 43 items ineligible for foreign exchange (forex).

Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, disclosed this during a meeting with oil palm producers in Abuja on Friday.

In June 2015, the apex bank had excluded importers of 41 items from accessing foreign exchange at the official window in order to encourage local production of the items.

Fertiliser and textile products were subsequently added to the list, making the items 43.

Speaking with the oil palm producers, Emefiele said the CBN has launched an investigation into the accounts of some found culpable of importing the produce.

He said they have the opportunity to stop before being sanctioned.

“Another part of the Presidential directive also says that we should blacklist from the foreign exchange market, and the banking industry, all firms their owners, and their top management, caught smuggling or dumping any of the restricted 43 items into Nigeria,” he said.

“Our economic intelligence department has started investigating the accounts of some of you who are involved in smuggling or dumping palm oil into Nigeria and we feel that before any actions are taken against you, in terms of blocking you from the foreign exchange market or blacklisting you from doing banking in Nigeria, that we must invite you to say that we are drawing a line and that importation of palm oil in Nigeria must stop.

“We must expand, seek to give support to people who want to expand the production of this product in Nigeria.”

The CBN governor said Buhari also ordered for the expansion and support of firms and individuals engaged in the production of ten different commodities including oil palm.

The others are rice, maize, cassava, tomatoes, cotton, poultry, fish, livestock dairy and cocoa.

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