James Emejo and Folalumi Alaran in Abuja
The Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria (FACAN) said it is in total support of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) position on repatriation of export proceeds to boost liquidity in the foreign exchange market.
It also called on the apex bank to further strengthen the policy to allow exporters unfettered access to their, “hard-earned foreign exchange proceeds,” going forward.
Speaking at a media briefing, FACAN National President, Dr. Victor Iyama said, “some exporters have gone underground in order to stay afloat while some will not repatriate their forex earnings and some have resulted to smuggling”.
He added: “It is our considered view that any exporter who refuses to comply on 100 per cent repatriation of export proceeds into the country should be treated as an economic saboteur and sanctioned accordingly as we in the league of exporters are ready to enforce it.”
He argued that allowing exporters unrestricted access to their export proceed will among other things lead to increased revenue to the country, reduce smuggling activities, improve forex earnings, reduce corruption as well as improvement in the country’s balance of trade.
Iyama said: “Exporters source for their produce from local buying agents/aggregagtors/merchants at just a little margin below the international market price as an act of sacrifice. Yet, our exporters still buy from these agents/aggregagtors/merchants at those prices just to remain in businesses and when the proceeds of export are repatriated through commercial banks, exporters are forced to accept the repatriated proceeds at a predetermined bank rate of say N385 to $1, while the parallel market i.e. Bureau De Change sell the foreign exchange majorly sourced from the same CBN at N465, thereby shortchanging the exporters by a margin about N80.”
He said: “The nation’s economy is therefore being deprived of the much needed foreign exchange as a result of this obnoxious arm-twisting of all repatriated funds of the exporters, Nigerians in diaspora and foreign investors.”
According to him, FACAN which comprises of 55 registered commodity associations along the value chain had over the years contributed greatly to the economic growth of the country through the generation of forex to the economy from non-oil export exchange proceeds.