The Nigerian organized private sector (OPS) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review its decision to commence an electronic invoice (e-invoice) for all import and export operations from February 1st with the aim of achieving the accurate value of foreign traded items in and out of the country.

The OPS comprising of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) commended the directive and gave reasons why it must be reviewed for proper and effective implementation.

Segun Ajayi-Kadir, director-general, MAN, noted that some provisions of the directive such as the disapproval of form M and Nigeria Export Proceeds Form (form NXP) that bears a unit price in excess of 2.5 percent of the verified global checkmate price will defeat the opportunity of exporters to derive higher value for their exports.

“What happens if some companies are able to negotiate better prices due to their scale of order and are able to get competitive lower prices? Will these competitive prices be within the benchmark? Clearly, this aspect of the policy will lead to several challenges on valuation down the line including a floodgate of valuation issues with Nigeria Customs Service (NCS),” he said.

The DG also highlighted the annual subscription fee charge of $350 per authentication by suppliers on the portal which is meant to maintain the system. He described it as a clear disincentive to suppliers of imports to Nigeria, particularly raw materials and spares for manufacturers. He explained that the charges could encourage suppliers to look elsewhere in the region as well as the continent for clients while shying away from Nigerian businesses.

Chinyere Almona, DG, LCCI said although the use of an e-Evaluator and e-Invoicing will facilitate increased trade transactions, boost revenue and reduce processing time for import-export forms, the period between its announcement and implementation is short. “Ideally, for a critical change of this nature, there should be a pilot phase to help identify potential challenges and deal with these before the commencement date, giving 10 days from the issuance of the guidelines to implementation does not give sufficient time for proper transition,” she said.

Almona, reiterated the need for increased investments in Nigeria’s digital infrastructure to support emerging innovative digital products as the country adopts a more electronic system. She advised the government to automate more processes in order to reduce human interface and curtail corruptive tendencies in the country’s trade chain.

She also said that the apex bank needs to establish an interactive and live customer complaints resolution section within the trade monitoring system to address any bottlenecks that may occur during transactions. Ajayi-Kadir advised that a stakeholders’ dialogue that will address the fears is considered while it is ensured that the CBN does not implement the guidelines without accommodating the constructive inputs of stakeholders, especially those whose businesses would be negatively impacted.

“Transition challenges will lead to chaos with immediate implementation which shows the need for more time before implementation, in addition, the CBN should make the operation of these policies cost-friendly as expenses are already much for businesses,” Ide John Udeagbala, national president, NACCIMA said. He asked the CBN to postpone the policy’s date of commencement so that businesses involved can get acquainted with the new dispensation which will allow effective and efficient implementation without adverse impact on businesses.


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