Worried that the productive sector is yet to enjoy benefit s of the Central Bank of Nigeria's foreign exchange policy, stakeholders at the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) have urged government to consolidate on the gains of the policy through provision of infrastructure and implementation of favourable trade policies.
According to the stakeholders, while the policy is expected to make the productive sector look inward for local sourcing of raw materials, government needs to be more serious about its economic reforms.
The stakeholders, while speaking at a breakfast meeting organized by the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) tagged, "Nigeria's forex policies and implications for business in 2016", opined that if the federal government stablises policies, finances and puts infrastructures in place, businesses would have a long-term decision which at long run would benefit local manufacturers and the economy at large.
One of the panelist, a consultant with KPMG, Tayo Ogungbenro disclosed that business owners in the country are currently not benefitting from the policy as they find it difficult to exchange dollars as regards to their business.
He said the more the delay in adjustments; the more rent seekers would continue to benefit from the policy.
"To allow businesses to adjust, government needs to work on the legal issues, build the infrastructure quickly. Investors want to invest in the economy but wants stability in the economy. If the policies were being stablised, manufacturers and the economy would benefit, which will create employment and chain deficit would be adjusted", he added.
Speaking on the effect of the policy on Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs), a Senior Principal at Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Akinsola Dawodu said formulation of the policy has suffered from CBN's limited understanding of the manufacturing process of many sectors affected by the policy.
"Many of the restricted items are irreplaceable raw materials in the manufacturing process of many industries and this policy will cause significant damage to the Nigerian manufacturing sector and economy.
"In Nigeria for example, when the naira becomes weak compared to other currencies like dollar or pound and there is the need to transact foreign trade with the United States of America or any of European countries, Nigeria would require extra cost in floating these other currencies for effective trade deals. This has also led to exposure to transaction risk, commercial risk and political risk", he explained.
"We also note the critical need for CBN to harmonise its policies with other agencies of government, including Customs, FIRS, SON, Immigration etc. In this specific instance, we call attention to Customs recent introduction of the ECOWAS Common External Tarrif (CET) which appears to be at cross-purposes with CBN policy", he added.
Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Lagos State, Rotimi Ogunleye who was represented by Director, Lagos Ministry of Commerce, Hakeem Bello, commended FNCCI and expressed optimism towards the CBN policy.
"In spite of the gloomy outlook of our economy climate occasioned by the foreign exchange restriction amidst the global fall in oil price, I see resilience, steadfastness and determination to succeed", he said.