Importation into Nigerian seaports will decline further by 2023 as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has indicated that it would discontinue the sale of foreign exchange to Deposit Money Banks (DMB) by the end of the year.
With this policy, importers of items that are yet to be banned from accessing the foreign exchange market will have to source their FOREX from black market, thereby, making importation very cumbersome and putting more pressure on the dollar against the naira.
Also, banning importers from accessing forex market means low import and low revenue for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), as they rely heavily on importation to realise the revenue set for them by the federal government.
The apex bank said that the banks must begin to source their forex from export proceeds, hence the need to support the non-oil sector of the economy.
This was made known by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while speaking at the special press briefing at the end of 364th Bankers Committee meeting on the launch of the bank’s new forex repatriation scheme ‘RT200 FX Programme’ on Thursday February 10, 2022, at its headquarters in Abuja.
The RT200 FX Programme which stands for the “Race to US$200 billion in FX Repatriation”, is a set of policies, plans and programmes for non-oil exports that will enable Nigeria attain a lofty yet attainable goal of US$200 billion in FX repatriation, exclusively from non-oil exports, over the next 3-5 years.
Emefiele pointed out that the decision was in line with the apex bank’s new commitment to boost the country’s foreign reserves through proceeds from non-oil exports.
Emefiele said, “The era is coming to an end when, because your customers need 100million dollars in foreign exchange or 200 million dollars, you now want to pack all the dollars and pass it to CBN to give you dollars.
“It is coming to an end before or by the end of this year. We will tell them don’t come to the Central Bank for foreign exchange again go and generate your export proceeds.
“When those export proceeds come, we will fund them at 5% for you and they will earn rebait. Then you can sell those proceeds to your customers that want 100 million dollars. But to say you will continue to come to the Central Bank to give you dollars, we will stop it.
“Nigeria cannot continue to depend on FX earnings to fund its import obligations from revenue coming from earnings from products where we cannot determine both price and quantity.’’
Under the RT200 FX programme, which is to take immediate effect, the CBN will provide concessionary and long-term loans for business people who are interested in expanding existing plants, or building new ones for the sole purpose of adding significant value to the non-oil commodities before exporting same.
These loans will have a tenure of 10 years, with a two-year moratorium and an interest rate of 5%.
The CBN boss during the briefing said that the newly introduced programme will have 5 key anchors which includes; Value-Adding Exports Facility, Non-Oil Commodities Expansion Facility, Non-Oil FX Rebate Scheme, Dedicated Non-Oil Export Terminal and Biannual Non-Oil Export Summit.