NACCIMA urges CBN to address unmet OPS FX requests

•Industrialists’ funds trapped for over a year
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has described as commendable the clearance of a $7 billion foreign exchange (FX) backlog by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

It, however, reiterates the need to take drastic steps to address the unmet FX requests by some organised private sector (OPS) members. In a statement, NACCIMA’s National President, Dele Oye, said several NACCIMA member companies and other private sector operators have challenged the claim that the backlogs have been cleared.

Oye noted that many NACCIMA members have reported that their funds in naira have been retained for extended periods, some for over a year, expressing regret that this happened without adequate communication from their respective banks or the CBN, leaving them in uncertainty.

He recalled that in February, NACCIMA sought the intervention of the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to address the issues, emphasising the need for transparency and expedited resolution, urging for a more comprehensive and transparent approach to resolving the remaining foreign exchange allocations.

“NACCIMA, along with NASSI, NASME and other associations, raised these concerns with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and the gravity of the situation was acknowledged by the National Assembly, which led to the summoning of the Minister of Trade and Investment to discuss the matter further,” he said.

The statement added that as part of the Minister of Trade and Investment’s preparation for the summon, a stakeholder meeting comprising NACCIMA, MAN, affected banks and customers was convened by the minister at the Bank of Industry on the 21st of March, 2024.

The meeting, he said, revealed that there has been a lack of formal communication from the CBN regarding the rejection of FX bids. It was revealed that Deloitte, the consulting firm engaged by the CBN for verification, had not directly engaged with the affected banks or their customers for clarification on any contentious transactions and the minister urged all parties to pursue dialogue and cautioned against actions like litigation that could hinder such discussion.

“In light of these developments, NACCIMA appeals to the CBN to collaborate closely with the Minister of Trade and Investment as well as the banking sector and their clientele, to resolve all outstanding issues about legitimate letters of credit for which Naira has already been collected (for a considerable time) with a promise of fulfillment,” Oye said.

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