• Monday, July 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Port users see timely cargo delivery in effective operation of e-form ‘M’

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Following the introduction of electronic form ‘M’ by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), port users are optimistic that there will be fast-tracked cargo clearance and timely delivery of cargoes to importers’ warehouse.

This will be impossible, the port users say, if the e-form ‘M’ policy is effectively implemented without further complications and duplication by the agencies involved in cargo clearance process.

According to them, the policy will not only ensure fast-tracked cargo clearance by removing the bottlenecks involved with manual processes, but will also help to monitor government revenue collected from import duties and levies.

Tony Anakebe, managing director of Gold-Link Investment Limited, a clearing and forwarding company, said that e-form ‘M’ enables importers that have Tax Identification Number (TIN) to access form ‘M’ electronically through the CBN website.

This process, he said, is a very easy means of clearing cargo as far as the importer has a TIN number and it is also a way of monitoring government revenue by the CBN because immediately the importer pays duty, CBN, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and Customs will be notified of such payment.

“Now, it is easier for an importer to access the Form ‘M’ online than before when the importers passed through the rigorous process of having to manually type the form, send to the bank, wait for the bank to send to the DI service provider for approval before the cargo can be released,” Anakebe said.

“After filling the form ‘M’, the importer is expected to go to the destination inspection service provider to collect Risk Assessment Report (RAR) to enable the importer to go for the release of the cargo from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS),” he added.

Kanikwu David Chuks, a maritime analyst, however, noted that the introduction of e-form ‘M’ was complicated with Tax Identification Number (TIN), adding that the problem with Nigeria is that the policymakers tend to introduce a lot of things at the same time such that one negates the other and at the end of the day the benefit will not materialise easily.

“Here, if an importer does not have a TIN, the person will not enter the CBN portal to fill the e-form ‘M’. Unfortunately, after an importer has submitted his or her form ‘M’ electronically, and when the person goes back to the shipping company and Customs for cargo release, the person will be asked to submit a copy of the form ‘M’, and this jeopardises the essence of the electronic platform,” he said.

He further observed that if the electronic transformation will have an impact, it will be at the long-run when people with TIN difficulties must have resolved their issues. He therefore suggested that CBN should create a platform where all the operators would access the form ‘M’ electronically on their system so that the potentials of electronic platform will be fully utilised.