Small businesses operating in Nigeria have got a foreign exchange reprieve from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

This is because the CBN has opened a special forex window for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enable them import eligible finished and semi-finished items.

The CBN spokesmsn, Isaac Okorafor, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said that the SMEs would be permitted to import items not exceeding 20,000 dollars for an enterprise per quarter.

He said that the Bank's special intervention was necessitated by its findings that many small businesses were being crowded out of the forex space by large firms.

Okorafor, in the statement said: "The sum of 20,000 dollars per SME customer per quarter can be effected by telegraphic transfer subject to completion of Form ‘M’ supported with proforma Invoice and the importer’s Bank Verification Number (BVN).

“All processing banks are to ensure that the importers submit relevant shipping documents not later than 60 days from the date of the transfer.

“Information posted on the CBN website defines Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are enterprises that have asset base (excluding land) of between N5 million and N500 million and a labour force of between 11 and 300.”