Dr. Tope Fasua, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs, has emphasized the need for a structural overhaul of Nigeria's foreign exchange market.
He made this assertion during a roundtable discussion organized by the National Policy Advocacy Centre (NPAC) of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The event centered around the theme of "Unification of Foreign Exchange and the Effect of Fuel Subsidy Removal on the Business Community."
Fasua advocated for reforms in the Bureau De Change (BDC) sector, aiming to strengthen it and streamline its operations. He pointed out that managing over 5,000 BDCs operating on the streets is a challenge. By implementing structural reforms in both the BDC sector and the banking industry while ensuring robust supervision, he believes the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) can incentivize the sector, enabling faster access to funds. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of defining and addressing the illegal forex market to achieve stability.
Fasua also highlighted that Nigeria annually spends more than $45 billion on importing refined petroleum products, milk, chemicals, and fish, among other items. He debunked the notion of a scarcity of forex, emphasizing that forex availability depends on the country's trade activities.
He elucidated on Nigeria's import and export profile, mentioning that more than 20 items imported into Nigeria fall within the billion-dollar range. Notable imports include fuel, diesel, cars, sugar, fish, milk, wheat, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. On the export side, Nigeria primarily exports crude oil and fertilizer, both in the billion-dollar range.
However, he noted that only 30% of the revenue from petroleum and gas exports belongs to Nigeria, with the majority owned by international oil companies.