The restriction of forex on about 41 imported goods is taking its toll on importers of goods and services around the country. Even local manufacturers who claim to produce locally for export abroad or local consumption are feeling the brunch. They apparently also require inputs which are mostly sourced abroad to produce their goods. They have made their case known to the CBN in several fora.
Just recently, the Tomato Sub-Sectoral Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), met with the Senate President seeking his assistance in lifting the restriction of access to forex by the CBN on imported goods. They claim they were not against the CBN’s policy restricting forex to some imported items but that they needed time to raise the level of tomato production in the country to eliminate the need for importation.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki responded as follows;
“As a country, we have to chart a new way different from the past, and that path is going into manufacturing as we cannot continue to remain an import dependent country….
What stops us from producing the tomato to the level of achieving the High Concentrate? You have to be serious in the area of massive investment and research in the sector for government to consider any concession for you,”
For the tomato sellers the door is probably closed for now as there is nowhere else to go to except the press. The Central Bank has asked importers of input products that are banned from its forex window to seek alternative sources rather than rely on the Central Bank.