(Ecofin Agency) - Amid the current coronavirus outbreak, hand sanitizers have become a very sought-after product in all markets and the federal government of Nigeria announced plans to ban their importation to bolster the local production. The announcement was made on March 11 by Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
After the country confirmed the first covid-19 case in sub-Saharan Africa, there was a strong demand for hand products suggested by the World Health Organization to help prevent the spread of the virus. The government has thus seen in this scenario the opportunity to support “made in Nigeria” products. “It is naira that we will pay to buy sanitizers, rather than using dollars to import sanitizers from China,” Godwin Emefiele said during a business conference in Abuja. “And I’m sure, as you all expect, that very soon, sanitizers will get into the list of items that are banned,” he added.
The measure is part of the government’s strategy to protect the local market, part of which authorities have restricted access to foreign exchanges and have banned the importation of many necessities such as soap, milk, and rice. Nigeria wants to rationalize the use of foreign exchanges, at a time when the price of oil, its main export, is falling.
Moutiou Adjibi Nourou