By Uche Usim
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assessed its decision to restrict foreign exchange access to 41 hitherto imported items, describing it as one that has had a positive impact on the economy.
The acting Director, Corporate Communications Department of the Bank, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, disclosed this on Friday at the CBN Fair, a sensitisation programme, held at the Cultural Centre in Calabar, Cross-River State.
Okorafor said the implementation of the policy has created employment and helped to conserve the hitherto depleting nation’s foreign reserve, therefore buoying up the economy.
Okorafor, who was represented by Mr. Chukwudum Nzelu, said the restriction of access to foreign exchange placed on the 41 items made Nigerians to start looking inward for the production of goods and products that the country has comparative advantage to be produced locally.
The CBN spokesman said the successful implementation of the 41 items policy gave birth to the other initiatives such as, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), which has caused a revolution in the production of rice across the country.
He added that the production of rice under the ABP was not only to ensure food security, but also to create jobs along the value chain of rice production, stressing that with improved seedlings and farming techniques under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, rice production, which stood at 3.5 tons per hectares, has jumped to seven tons per hectare.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Branch Controller, CBN Calabar Branch, Dr. Graham Kalio, said that the interactive forum was aimed at bridging the information gap that might exist concerning the policies, programmes and activities of the apex Bank.
The Fair was attended by farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), persons from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and others who were genuinely interested in taking advantage of the CBN polies and programmes.