One year later, CBN forex ban still ‘hurting’ these 41 items

One year later, CBN forex ban still ‘hurting’ these 41 items
June 23
18:44 2016

Exactly one year ago – June 23, 2015 – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released a circular, listing 41 items as not valid for foreign exchange (forex) through the official forex window.

Olakanmi Gbadamosi, the apex bank director of trade and exchange, said the exclusion of these items was in order to ensure “efficient utilization of forex”.

The CBN also argued that the move would encourage patronage of locally made good, pushing its argument with the narrative that Nigerians were still in the business of importing toothpicks.

After the ban, many manufacturers in the country complained that the bank’s action was affecting over 700 products in the market.

Speaking at TheCable colloquium, Muda Yusuf, president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), who was represented by Vincent Nwani, said the ban was hurting 728 businesses.

“The 41 items that were banned by the CBN from accessing forex from official sources, to us in the chamber is like 728 lines of product. To them, they see it as 41 items,” Yusuf had said.

“We don’t subscribe to importing toothpick, tomato paste and all of that but there are key manufacturing items we are looking at.

“Out of the 41, we brought about 12 items to them that we don’t have the capacity to meet this. For example, everybody knows that Nigerian is rich in palm oil, but the local demand capacity is 1,800 metric tonnes per annum.

“Today the domestic production is just 600 metric tonnes. You need about five to eight years for the best seed of palm oil to yield; we demanded for some lag, but this is not happening.

“I can tell you that about 80,000 jobs are at risk in the manufacturing sector.”


At the start of the new forex regime on Monday, the CBN insisted that the 41 items remain “not valid for forex”, drawing up much criticism.

Experts argue that these 41 items would give much relevance to the parallel market, which was expected to fizzle out over the cause of time.

Oby Ezekwesili, former World Bank vice president, has called on the CBN to take of the “fetters” put on the 41 items and allow the market to fully function.

Below are the 41 items:

  • Rice
  • Cement
  • Margarine
  • Palm kernel/Palm oil products/vegetables oils
  • Meat and processed meat products
  • Vegetables and processed vegetable products
  • Poultry chicken, eggs, turkey
  • Private airplanes/jets
  • Indian incense
  • Tinned fish in sauce(Geisha)/sardines
  • Cold rolled steel sheets
  • Galvanized steel sheets
  • Roofing sheets
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Head pans
  • Metal boxes and containers
  • Enamelware
  • Steel drums
  • Steel pipes
  • Wire rods(deformed and not deformed)
  • Iron rods and reinforcing bard
  • Wire mesh
  • Steel nails
  • Security  and razor wine
  • Wood particle boards and panels
  • Wood Fibre Boards and Panels
  • Plywood boards and panels
  • Wooden doors
  • Toothpicks
  • Glass and Glassware
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Tableware
  • Tiles-vitrified and ceramic
  • Textiles
  • Woven fabrics
  • Clothes
  • Plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules , cellophane wrappers
  • Soap and cosmetics
  • Tomatoes/tomato pastes
  • Eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases


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NOTE: The black market rates represent the most prevalent. They could be slightly higher or lower among different sellers.