Business

Multiple rates: LCCI demands forex reforms

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for a review of Nigeria’s foreign exchange policy framework towards expanding the scope of market mechanism in the determination of exchange rate in the country. President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, in an interview with this newspaper in Lagos, said it was time the Federal Government looked into the country’s foreign policy in order to harmonise the rate. The LCCI president noted with concerns the divergent positions of both the fiscal and monetary authorities regarding the country’s foreign exchange framework. According to her, lack of cohesion among policymakers is sending negative signal to the investment community, worsening uncertainty and further dampening investor confidence.

It is important for the fiscal authorities in the country. Mabogunje explained that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Economic Advisory Council (EAC) needed to be on the same page as far as the country’s foreign exchange policy framework is concerned to promote FX stability. She said: “The Lagos Chamber notes with concerns the divergent positions of both the fiscal and monetary authorities regarding the country’s foreign exchange framework. “Lack of cohesion among policymakers sends a negative signal to the investment community, worsens uncertainty, and further dampens investor confidence.

“It is important for the fiscal authorities, CBN and Economic Advisory Council to be on the same page as far as the country’s foreign exchange policy framework is concerned. “We reiterate our position that Nigeria’s foreign exchange policy framework needs to be reviewed to expand the scope of market mechanism in the determination of exchange rate. “It is critically important for policymakers to harmonise the multiple exchange rates into a single market-reflective rate, which is imperative in strengthening investor confidence and engendering macroeconomic stability.” According to her, “unification of exchange rates would complement recent efforts by CBN geared at enhancing liquidity at the supply segment of the foreign exchange market.

“Ensuring clarity on the country’s foreign exchange policy direction among participants in the investment environment is even more imperative in attracting private investments into the economy. “Many investors in the economy, including those in the real sector are lamenting the difficulties in accessing foreign exchange for importation of raw materials, equipment and some critical inputs for production and processing. This is in-spite of the notable recovery in crude oil prices.

“This situation is a taking a huge toll on capacity utilisation, business turnover, sales and profitability. Sustainability of some of these investments are currently at risk with dire implications for retention of jobs. “All these underscores the need to review the current foreign exchange management model.”

 

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