High-ranking Buhari ministers, traditional rulers, mount pressure for removal of CBN governor, Emefiele
There is fresh pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
This time the pressure is coming from the President’s ministers and members of his inner circle.
According to Frontiers News, key ministers of the administration including Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelama; Comptroller General (CG), Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) and some powerful traditional rulers in the country are hellbent on seeing the CBN boss out of office.
According to the report, call for his removal is predicated on his refusal to bow to pressure to lift ban on 41 prohibited items by the Federal Government.
The platform's investigations revealed that Adeosun, Enelama, Ali and the traditional rulers have been pushing for the unbanning of the 41 items removed by the CBN from receiving foreign exchange support.
It was learnt that the refusal by the governor to buckle under pressure and rescind the decision has led to pressure on President Muhammad Buhari to relieve Mr. Emefiele of his job as the apex bank boss.
CBN, investigations revealed, is insisting that the ban on the items will help conserve foreign reserves as well as facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries and improve employment generation.
Our correspondent's investigations revealed that the trio of Adeosun; Enelama and Ali while also advocating for the floating of the naira have voiced oppositions to the continuous exclusion of the 41 items from benefiting from forex, citing the present economic hardship on the masses as reasons why they want the items deproscribed by the apex bank.
Sources close to the Presidency told FN that if Emefiele bows to pressure and lift the ban on the 41 items, the nation's economy would be doomed, adding that the farmers and stakeholders in the small and medium scale sector who are gradually finding their feet in the country would be unable to function thus fast-tracking the nation's journey to total economic collapse.
The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity argued that those urging the CBN boss to let the ban on the prohibited items are “selfish and self serving”, adding that an attempt to lift the order on the 41 items would help to compound Nigeria's economic problems.
“Their argument is that since Nigerians are facing difficult times now, these 41 items should be removed from the prohibited lists. They are embarking on campaign of blackmail to convince Mr. President to compel Mr. Emefiele to rescind the ban order. They are employing every means to achieve their selfish aims but I can tell you that the president would not agree to this temporary relief measure,” the source said.
“The president strongly supports the CBN anchor borrowing program designed to grow the agricultural sector and we are having positive results. Kebbi and Lagos are growing rice. Other states are following suite. And from statistics available, Thai rice Farmers were only able to import about 58,000 metric tons of rice to Nigeria in 2016 because we are gradually becoming self sufficient in rice production. This is the direction we should be looking and not going back to urban the 41 items that we can produce locally,” the source said.
Lamenting the roles of the three Buhari appointees in undermine the president's economic recovery programme, the source said “It is sad that Adeosun, Enelama, Ali and these unnamed traditional rulers are calling for this reversal. Who are they really working for? For the Nigerian people or for a few cabals serving their interests? This is the tragedy of our country. I can't imagine a minister or any political appointee of this government calling for the unbanning of the 41 items under the prohibition list? This is really sad”.
The 41 items banned from benefitting from foreign exchange at the Nigeria foreign exchange window are rice; cement; margarine; palm kernel/palm oil produce/vegetable oil; meat and processed meat products; vegetables and processed vegetable products; poultry-chicken, eggs, turkey; private airplanes/jets; indian incense; tinned fish in sauce (Geisha)/sardines; cold rolled steel sheets; galvanized steel sheets; roofing sheets and wheelbarrows.
Others are head pans; enamelwares; steel drums; steel pipes; wire rods; iron rods and reinforcing bars; wire mesh; steel nails; security and razor wire; wood particles boards and panels; wood fiber boards and panels; plywood boards and panels; wooden doors; furnitures; toothpicks; glass and glassware; kitchen utensils; tableware; tiles-vitrified and ceramic; textiles; woven fabrics; clothes; plastic and rubber products, cellophane wrappers; soaps and cosmetics; tomatoes/tomato pastes; and euro bonds/foreign currency bond/share purchase.