Worried by the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country and the telling efforts on the value of the Naira among others, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday directed all banks under its supervision to submit the names, addresses and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) of exporters who have failed to repatriate their exports proceeds, for further action.
The directive issued by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, during the Bi-monthly virtual meeting of the Bankers’ Committee, comes barely 24 hours after the Bank announced the abolition of third-party “Form M” payment.
This followed the adoption of the strategy to discourage over-invoicing, allegedly used by some businesses to fleece the country of foreign exchange. Such companies the CBN noted, are in the habit of opening “Forms M” and routing the payment through a buying company, agent, or other third parties.
The statement signed by the CBN’s Director of Trade and Exchange, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, had further said the directive was aimed at ensuring prudent use of Nigeria’s foreign exchange resources while eliminating incidences of over-invoicing, transfer pricing, double handling charges and avoidable costs that are ultimately passed to the average Nigerian consumer.
A number of punitive options, it is believed, are open to the CBN, including barring defaulting exporters from the foreign exchange market and other banking services.
Recall that the CBN, in the past, had warned exporters conducting export activity against diverting foreign exchange from the export proceeds, instead of repatriating same home.
The CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee (comprising chief executive of banks, and CBN management, among others) at Tuesday’s meeting threatened heavy sanctions against exporters who failed to repatriate forex proceeds from their international business.
The CBN recalled that its Foreign Exchange Manual provides that all exporters should repatriate export proceeds back to the country to support the local currency and boost the economy.
Meanwhile, Emefiele plans to meet Chief Executives of multinational companies in Nigeria, in line with his campaign tagged ‘Produce, Add Value and Export’ (PAVE), especially for the agricultural produce.
Top on the agenda, as announced at the end of Tuesday’s meeting is how to revamp Nigeria’s export market, with the apex bank expressing willingness to fashion deliberate policies that would boost investment and job creation.
The meeting is expected to come up with a roadmap on how best to revitalize the export sector in order to earn foreign exchange for the country, as well as generate jobs for millions of Nigerians.
While decrying the situation where many Nigerian produce of export quality were waiting to be tapped, Emefiele said the CBN, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, would ensure the facilitation of a reboot of the Nigerian export market.
Alluding to President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge for Nigerians to produce what they eat and eat what they produce, the CBN Governor reiterated that the country had no choice but to diversify its economic base away from heavy reliance on crude oil.