The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reversed its ban on 43 items from accessing foreign exchange, eliciting mixed reactions. The apex bank, in a significant monetary policy shift, reinstated the banned items that were restricted from accessing forex since June 2015. The move aims to “sustain the stability of the foreign exchange market and derive optimum benefits from imported goods and services.”


    The list of items includes rice, cement, toothpicks, margarine, palm kernel/palm oil products/vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and processed vegetable products, poultry (chicken, eggs, turkey), soap and cosmetics, tomatoes/tomato pastes, milk, maize, and tinned fish in sauce (Geisha) or sardines.

    Despite the initial ban lasting for eight years, the Yemi Cardoso-led apex bank lifted the restrictions in a statement signed by the Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin.

    The statement declared, “Importers of all the 43 items previously restricted by the 2015 Circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/010 and its addendums are now allowed to purchase foreign exchange in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market.”

    It emphasized referencing prevailing FX rates from platforms such as the CBN website, FMDQ, and other recognized or appointed trading systems for transparency and credibility.

    However, this decision comes amid a worsening foreign exchange crisis, with a growing gap between the official and parallel markets. While the official rate is at N770 per dollar in the Investors & Exporters (I&E) FX window, it has exceeded N1000 in the parallel market.

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