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Reps direct CBN to suspend e-valuator, e-invoicing for import, export

...summon Emiefele over N3.1trn Customs revenue target

The House of Representatives on Thursday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the implementation of the new guidelines on the introduction of electronic valuator and electronic invoicing, replacing the hard copy final invoice for import and export businesses in Nigeria.

The House also invited the governor of CBN, Goodwin Emiefele to brief the committee on Customs and Excise with the assurances that the target revenue of N3.1 trillion given to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) by the Federal Government (which the Customs announced to the media they are targeting N4.2 trillion) will not be distorted by the sudden policy implementation.

The reps further urged the CBN to give 90- day timeline for subsequent new fiscal/monetary policy implementation to allow for adjustment in order to stabilise the economy.

These decisions followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Leke Abejide, chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise at plenary.

Moving the motion, Abejide noted that on January 21, 2022, the central bank issued a circular on guidelines on import and export businesses in Nigeria, with reference number TED/FEM/FPC/PUB/01/001 to take effect from February 1, 2022, 10 days after the issuance of the guidelines.

He also noted that sudden monetary/fiscal circular hurriedly or haphazardly implemented often leads to policy summersault, hence major policy change such as this needs a grace period of 90 days for transactions to run its full course to avoid distortion in the economy and also to avoid price distortions of trade.

Read also: CBN unperturbed by planned rate normalization by US Fed, advanced economies

The lawmaker expressed worry that the CBN has gradually deviated from its primary function of monetary policy measures and bankers to the government to be concentrating more on fiscal policy measures which are the function of the federal ministry of finance.

The motion states: “Concerned if the guidelines are not given adequate time to sensitise and acquaint the major ports of entry in the country for stakeholders and the general public to study the policy it will distort prices of goods and services and create logjams for imports and exports, delay transactions and consequently cause ports congestion.

“Recalls in 2020 the immediate implementation of FORM NXP as a mandatory statutory document required to be completed by all exporters for shipment of goods outside the country resulted in crisis as most exporters contracts were cancelled by their foreign buyers’ due to network issues and configuration of its portal which takes more than two to three weeks to resolve thus leading to massive financial loss by exporters”, he stated.

Abejide expressed worry that importers and exporters in the manufacturing, mining and trading sectors would be affected as the exceptions indicated that all exporters and importers with a cumulative invoicing value equal to or above $500,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency would be affected which is practically impossible to have anyone below this value cumulatively.

“Disturbed that some issues in the guidelines are contradictory for instance, guidelines (c) and (d) contradict each other, while guideline (c) states that no importer/exporter may effect payment to the credit of any foreign supplier unless the electronic invoice has been authenticated by Authorised Dealer’s Banks presented together with the relevant documents for payment, but guideline (d) states that the content of the electronic

invoice authenticated by Authorised Dealer Banks is only advisory for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS),” he stated.

Adopting the motion, the House insisted that the policy be suspended to enable adequate sensitisation on the workability of the policy in all major ports of entry, including seaports, airports and border stations.

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