The Central Bank of Nigeria and stakeholders in the banking industry have begun taking steps towards sanctioning exporters who do not repatriate the foreign exchange they earn from their sales as it opens up another line of credit for small businesses that focus on exports.
Rising from the Bankers Committee Meeting in Lagos on Thursday, the CBN said exporters who refused to formally repatriate their foreign exchange proceeds would now be blacklisted and refused services by financial institutions in the country.
Speaking at a briefing following the meeting, the Managing Director of Unity Bank, Somi Somefun, said the Bankers Committee which comprises of the CBN and bank chief executives, in an effort to increase the foreign exchange earnings of the country through non-oil exports, ” has created a special export intervention scheme to support export.”
Noting that the intervention is expected to generate additional foreign exchange for the country she said “this is going to be closely monitored and we expect that a lot of Small and Medium Enterprises will benefit from the scheme.”
According to her, “The issue we have had in the past was failure of some exporters to repatriate the forex generated and the CBN has agreed with the bankers committee to sanction defaulting exporters. Part of the sanctions will be blacklisting them such that no bank in this country will do business with them.”
On his part, the CBN Director, Banking Supervision Department, Ahmed Abdulahi, explained that the intervention was a CBN initiative to drive exports.
He said it would make exporters access the funds just like the commercial agriculture scheme or anchor borrowers scheme.
He said it was a special fund with the CBN that exporters could access in order to boost their businesses.
On the blacklisting, he explained that “there is a provision in the foreign exchange manual that requires all exporters to repatriate the proceeds of their exports But the fact is that a number of exporters don’t and so the bankers committee deliberated on the matter and felt there is a need to sanction appropriately those exporters.
“Part of the sanctions could be the blacklisting of any exporter such that they don’t have any access to any banking services. That is being considered.”
Meanwhile the disbursement of the N26 billion SME Agriculture Equity fund will be disbursed before the end of the quarter.