By Fatima Muraina, Francis Akinnodi, Sade Adewale,
Babatunde Ayedoju, Kayode Olabanji, Jimoh Ahmed &
The lifting of foreign exchange restrictions placed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on importation of 43 items that could be produced in the country will kill local investments and worsen employment generation, experts have warned.
However, they explained that lifting of the ban will lead to crash in the prices of items to be imported.
The experts added that the policy will curb inflation as Nigerians will begin to experience crash in the prices of the items very soon.
Those who spoke with The Hope included: Head of Department of Agricultural Extension and Communication Technology, Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, Dr. Matthew Akinnagbe, Prof. Ahmed Balogun of the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science of FUTA, Ondo State Chairman of Sunshine Rice Farmers Association, Mr George Olabode, the National Vice President of Poultry Association of Nigeria PAN, Mr Gideon Oluleye.
Others are: Financial expert, Dr. Emmanuel Adenegan, an economist, Dr Bankole Adetosoye, an economist and public finance expert, Dr Suraj Mahmud and others.
Akinnagbe explained that the ban lifting implies more access to the products which he said have both positive and negative effects.
“Positively, the products will be cheaper and more available to the people in the country but will negatively affect the growth of the economy as we depend more on importation.
“It will not encourage local production,” he added.
Prof. Balogun in his reaction applauded the government, saying there was need to strike a balance to meet the demand of the people for survival.
He, however, advised government to still encourage the consumption of local products in order to balance the equation so that the country will no longer import after some time.
Dr Harrison Idowu said that it would make Nigeria a dumping ground of the affected products, though they would be more affordable for the average Nigerians.
Dr. Paul Temegbe said: “From the manufacturing point of view, we may end up killing the local industries, which in turn results to unemployment.”
Senior lecturer at Westley University, Ondo, Dr Bankole Adetosoye said the idea will discourage smuggling, while the prices of the items will surely come down.
He noted that Nigerians will now have a variety of choices to choose from.
He said the government should encourage local production of the items so that there will be competitive prices, from which the consumers can pick the customer-friendly ones.
A financial expert, Dr. Emmanuel Adenegan said that the decision is a welcome development.
According to him, the ban was one of the factors driving distortions in the forex market.
Dr Mahmud, posited that the new policy might create a critical problem in the forex market as the demand for it will soar, thus becoming a serious problem for the country and the people unless there is effort by the government to boost supply of forex.
Mallam Aminullah Kareem, described the new policy as a welcome development, saying the move would help weaken the soaring parallel market exchange rate and promote orderliness in the forex market.
He said the exclusion of the 43 items largely contributed to distortions in the forex market.
Mr George Olabode said the policy will not go down well with local production of rice because the market will be flooded with foreign rice.
He said the decision might have been taken due to inability of farmers to meet expectations following the tremendous support granted to the northern part of the country.
Olabode said lifting of the ban showed that it is time to sacrifice because it is a situation that we must all come together and salvage.
Mr Oluleye Gideon said the ban lifted will catalyse a lot of activities within the economy whose effect on the people will be substantial.
He observed that imported chickens are preserved with chemicals that are castro genic and not good for consumption.
A statement signed by the CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin lifted the ban on importation of rice, cement, vegetable oils, palm kernel, palm oil products, margarine, meat and processed meat products.
Other items are vegetables and processed vegetable products, poultry and processed poultry products, tinned fish in sauce (geisha)/sardine, cold rolled steel sheets, galvanized steel sheets, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows among others.