The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said the continued restriction of 43 items on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s list of products barred from accessing foreign exchange at official rates has been a major contributor to the worsening currency devaluation crisis.
The LCCI President, Michael Olawale-Cole, stated this on Tuesday during the chamber’s quarterly state of the economy press conference in Lagos.
Olawale-Cole expressed worry that Bureau de Change operators were currently selling at an average of N811/$, a development which was beginning to open a gap between the official rate and the BDC rate.
He said, “The emerging gap between the official rate and the BDC rate may be attributed to several factors, including fx liquidity issues at the NAFEX window, pushing economic agents into the parallel market, and the continued FX restriction for the 43 items in the CBN list of FX restrictions.”
According to him, the chamber’s position was that the CBN needed to remove the FX restrictions for importing 43 products from their list, communicate the new framework for exchange rate management and enhance the consistency of the current framework for monetary policy operations to ensure price stability.
This, he said, was critical to enhancing stability, liquidity, and transparency in the fx market.
On Nigeria’s debt profile, Olawale-Cole noted that the World Bank had expressed worry that Nigeria’s debt has reached record levels with implications on debt-servicing costs.
“The government should explore other avenues to manage debt, including opening equity opportunities and offloading/selling off some of its real estate holdings,” he added.
He advised the government to intensify its effort to deal with insecurity, oil theft, and vandalism, as well as block all revenue leakages in government institutions.