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  The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently made a significant decision regarding the import of milk and dairy products. Initially, on February 11, 2020, the CBN imposed restrictions on these items, adding them to the list of products ineligible for forex. This move aimed to regulate foreign exchange allocation and stimulate domestic production.
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However, there has been a recent development in this policy. In a notice issued to commercial banks on March 12, 2024, the CBN updated items eligible for foreign exchange transactions. Notably, the restriction on forex for dairy products import has been lifted, signalling a shift in the regulatory stance. Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, relayed this information to its customers. Quoting the CBN circular, Zenith Bank highlighted the lifting of restrictions on milk and dairy imports. It emphasized that entities complying with regulatory requirements could now access forex through the Nigeria Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) for such transactions. The circular reads:
“Please be informed that the Central Bank of Nigeria, through its circular, Ref no ted/fem/pub/fpc/001/010 dated March 12, 2024 has provided an update on eligible items for foreign exchange (non-valid for FX).

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In light of the foregoing, please note that the restriction of FX for the importation of dairy products and its derivatives, to all entities except selected companies has been lifted. Also, note that any entity that meets the necessary extant regulation requirements is allowed to source for FX at the NAFEM for transactions.”
This decision aligns with the CBN’s broader strategy to adjust its foreign exchange policies. In October 2023, the apex bank lifted a ban on 43 items previously restricted from accessing forex. The CBN aims to create a more flexible and inclusive forex market while addressing concerns such as FX backlog. Among the products affected by these policy changes are rice, cement, margarine, vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and processed vegetable products, chicken, tomatoes and tomato paste, soap, cosmetics, and head pans. These items were subject to various restrictions but are now permitted for forex transactions. The CBN’s commitment to dialogue with stakeholders reflects its willingness to engage with the business community and address concerns regarding foreign exchange policies. This approach underscores the importance of collaboration in navigating challenges and fostering economic growth.
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In conclusion, lifting restrictions on milk and dairy imports represents a significant policy shift, aimed at promoting a more dynamic and inclusive foreign exchange market in Nigeria.
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This article was first published on 22nd March 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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