The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is committed to ensuring that key manufacturing firms are able to obtain the letters of credit (L/Cs) they need to import the materials required for their businesses.

The bank's claim appears to contrast with its own data, which suggest Nigeria's manufacturing sector performed dismally in 2016 for several reasons, including poor availability of L/Cs and foreign exchange (DC World News, 13 January 2017).

That data appeared to back claims made last year by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) that the CBN's flexible exchange rate policy caused substantial losses for manufacturers selling on L/C terms (DC World News, 30 November 2016).

Approved list

Now the CBN insists it is providing a lifeline to Nigeria's manufacturers and says the country's banks disbursed US$1.07 billion to 4,328 manufacturers, power producers and other businesses in November 2016 alone.

The funds were specifically used for the procurement of raw materials, plant and machinery as specified in the L/Cs with which they were purchased and were for goods that complied with the CBN's list of approved imported goods.

Banks and beneficiaries

The CBN says foreign exchange was handled by commercial banks including

FirstBank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Unity Bank, Union Bank, Wema Bank and Sterling Bank.

Beneficiaries included Dana Motors, Dangote Industries, Eat N Go Limited, Flour Mills Nigeria, GX Foods Limited and PZ Cussons.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or any of the other partners in DC-PRO.