If you were an importer of any of the 41 items prohibited from accessing dollar foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, you are still banned from approaching the apex bank for Chinese Renminbi.

You may recall that Nigeria and China recently entered a 3-year, $3.5 billion currency swap deal.

This is to enable Nigerians trading with China gain access to the Chinese currency directly from the CBN while still in Nigeria.

With this deal, some importers who specialized in bringing banned items: rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel/palm oil products/vegetables oils, poultry chicken, eggs, turkey etc, thought they could now gain access to forex through the new deal.

But alas! The CBN wouldn’t consider it. The 41 items remains banned, according to the apex bank.

CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja that the new deal does not cover import of banned items.

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According to him, this will ensure that the currency deal does not stifle local companies and make Nigeria a dumping ground for Chinese goods.

Okorafor said that the CBN had already taken adequate measures to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“The 41 items that had initially been banned from the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market will still not qualify under the deal,” he said.

“Before now, when importing necessary machinery or merchandise from China, you first exchange Naira to the dollar before changing it again to Renminbi and this puts pressure on the Naira.

“Now what it means is that a large portion of the demand for dollars in Nigeria has been lifted off the back of the Naira and put directly on the Chinese Renminbi.

“And so it is a positive development as it will enhance the value of the Naira and reduce our dependence on the dollar for imports,” he added.

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