How CBN can make RT200 FX policy hit its target – Experts

The RT200 FX programme by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) can achieve its aim if deliberate efforts are made to follow it through, experts are saying.

The experts made the suggestions Tuesday in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Akpan Ekpo, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, said the programme would shore up foreign exchange in the short and medium-term.

However, he said for this to happen, in order not to allow the foreign exchange to determine economic activities, the structure of the economy must change in favour of production so that non-oil goods and services would be produced in the economy and exported to earn foreign exchange for the country.

“It is when the economy is diversified and non-oil goods and services are produced domestically and exported to earn foreign exchange, then foreign exchange would not be a challenge,” he said.

Sheriffdeen Tella, professor of economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, said RT200 FX programme was good as it might make some exporters give it a trial with fractions of what they had in their foreign account.

But he was emphatic that for the programme to benefit the economy, the apex bank must give importers assurance of ease or priority of getting dollars whenever required for imports.

Read also: What CBN’s non-oil FX plans mean for Nigeria

Tella urged the CBN to have a policy that whoever would get forex to produce and export must channel the proceed into a domiciliary account, failure of which would attract punishment.

Hassan Oaikhenan, a professor in the economics department, University of Benin, Edo, said for the programme to achieve its goals, the CBN must shore up the value of the Naira.

“The rapidly depreciating Naira serves to encourage the phenomenon of currency substitution in which economic agents prefer to hold the more stable hard currency.

“The question that follows is will an exporter, in response to the incentives that are spelt out in the programme, be willing to repatriate the foreign exchange earned? It is doubtful.

“Until deliberate policies are taken to broaden the sources of foreign exchange in the economy and to diversify it from borrowing and from crude oil, every effort in that regard, will have little potential to make the much needed big dent on the scarcity of foreign exchange in the economy.

“I had thought that the CBN should by now be appraising the successful nature or otherwise of the policy of giving N5 incentive for every dollar that is received from abroad by beneficiaries of remittances from abroad.

“That, in my opinion, should serve as the basis for the CBN to proceed to embark on the RT200 Forex Programme,” Oaikhenan said.

The RT200 FX Programme is a set of policies, plans and programmes for non-oil exports that will enable Nigeria to attain its lofty yet attainable goal of 200 billion dollars in FX repatriation, exclusively from non-oil exports, over the next three to five years.

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