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CBN’s E-Invoicing Policy Will Worsen Nigeria’s Foreign Trade, Says CPPE

The Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria to revoke its newly introduced  electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) and evaluator for exporters and importers.

The e-invoicing became effective on February 1, 2022.

The CBN had introduced the evaluator to cut foreign exchange spendings for fraudulent or inflated  transactions.

The new policy ensures that imports and exports activities with unit prices that are more than 2.5 per cent of the verified global checkmate prices would be queried and will not be denied successful completion of either Form M or Form NXP, according to a circular signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. O. S. Nnaji.

But the CPPE in a statement signed by the Director-General, Muda Yusuf argued that the new e-invoicing policy will frustrate foreign trade as well worsen the plights of business.

The CPPE accused the CBN of overstretching its function by the introduction of the e-invoicing policy which it claimed was the responsibility of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Finance Ministry.

In recent times, the CBN has been seen to over stretch its function due to the failures of the fiscal authorities, analysts have said.

The CPPE said, “The E invoice and E-evaluator policy will only worsen an already bad international trade transactions process. The policy will increase transaction cost, entrench red tape, increase uncertainty, escalate business disruption, weaken investors’ confidence and heighten corruption risk. The truth is that there is a strong correlation between red tape and corruption.

“The increasing incursion of the CBN into the trade policy space is an aberration in our economic management system and a serious cause for concern to the business community.

“Issues of import valuation and classification are statutory functions of the Nigeria Customs Service, with the Finance Ministry as the supervising organ.

“The decision of the CBN to now undertake valuation and product price benchmarking of imports and exports is a duplication of the statutory responsibility of the Nigeria Customs Service.

“We therefore submit that the E evaluator and E invoicing initiatives be rescinded by the CBN. There is no compelling justification for their introduction in the first place.”

The think-tank called on the CBN to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs to address any gaps in the valuation processes, rather than set up a parallel institutional framework.

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