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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Nigeria: Importers’ Over-Invoicing is being addressed by CBN

With its directive that, effective February 1, 2022, all import and export operations must submit an electronic invoice (e-invoice) authenticated by Authorised Dealer Banks (ADBs) on the Nigeria Single Window Price Portal – Trade Monitoring System, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has taken a major step to stop the age-old practice of over-invoicing that dodgy importers and exporters have used to cart away the nation’s forex (TRMS). 

In an interview yesterday, a top central bank official, who asked to remain unnamed, revealed this, claiming it would also help the country save forex.  

The new portal, according to the source, is an internationally accepted price monitoring tool in which the price of the item being imported is typed into the portal before a bank opens a ‘Form M’ for a customer who wishes to import. 

In a circular issued over the weekend, the apex bank said that the adoption of the e-valuator and e-Invoice will eventually replace the hard copy final invoice as part of the paperwork necessary for all import and export operations.  

The circular, headed “Guidelines on the Introduction of E-Evaluator, E-Invoicing for Import and Export in Nigeria,” was sent to all approved dealers and the price. It was signed by CBN Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji. The new law, according to the apex bank, strives to acquire precise value from commodities imported and exported into and out of the nation. 

“Over the previous several years, the Nigerian economy has suffered from the dilemma of over-invoicing by importers and under-invoicing by exporters,” the central bank source said, elaborating on the new policy. Unscrupulous importers might unlawfully send money out of the nation and transport it overseas by over-invoicing.  

“Exporters, on the other hand, are able to take some money abroad because they under-invoice their exports, and when this happens, what comes back home is lower than the actual exports. 

“So, this portal is a globally accepted price monitoring platform where the price of the item being imported is keyed into the portal before a bank can open a ‘Form M’ for a customer who wants to import. The Form M is accepted if the price entered into the portal is not more than 2.5 percent over the worldwide permissible price.  

“However, if the importer’s price is more than 2% more than the worldwide accepted price, the Form M is immediately rejected. It’s going save the country a lot of money.” 



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