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MAN calls for suspension, review of CBN’s e-valuation, e-invoicing policy

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THE Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the implementation of its guidelines on e-valuation and e-invoicing.

MAN asked the CBN to review specific areas of the policy.

A statement by the Director-General of the Association Segun Ajayi-Kadir said some areas of concern were raised, including the hasty implementation of the policy, less than two weeks after its issuance.

“We noted that the implementation date on the circular is scheduled for 1st February 2022, whereas the guideline itself was issued on the 21st January 2022. This is just 11 days of grace before implementation. This is rather hasty.

“A circular on monetary or fiscal guidelines requires adequate adjustment time. This is more so when it involves international trade and transactions; where a minimum of 90 days allowance of time is normally required, as many operators would have opened Form M and concluded deals either for import of export,” it read.

Ajayi-Kadir noted that the commencement date should be extended by at least 90 days, and transactions embarked on before the issuance of the guidelines be exempted.

Another issue raised by the association included clarifications on paragraph D of the CBN policy.

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“We also seek clarification on paragraph D of the guidelines; wherein the CBN is directing that ‘the content of the electronic invoice authenticated by Authorized Dealer Banks is only advisory for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).’ ”

“This means that the NCS may vary it, probably uplift the FOB when issuing the PAAR. MAN considers CBN and NCS as agencies of the Federal Government and hence should harmonise their functions in this regard.”

The director-general noted that business owners might be forced to pay extra fees by the Nigerian Customs Service or might be forced by the CBN to reduce the price of goods if it differed from the benchmark pricing.

MAN also raised concerns over the transmission of authenticated invoices through the Single Window policy, adding that it could lead to unnecessary bureaucracy and multiple charges, which could discourage investors.

The association highlighted the yearly subscription fee of $350 per authentication as a disincentive to importers in Nigeria.

The CBN was urged to entertain constructive contributions of stakeholders, particularly business owners who would be affected negatively by the policy before implementation, to avoid creating an unfriendly environment for private businesses in the country.

“We should avoid a situation that will give the regulators a leeway to ride roughshod over private business owners who are already groaning under an inclement operating environment,” it read.

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On January 21, 2022, the CBN had issued a circular to the public announcing that all import and export operations would require the submission of an electronic invoice authenticated by authorised dealer banks through the Nigeria single-window portal – Trade Monitoring System.

The guidelines, slated to take effect from February 1, 2022, also stipulated that products above 2.5 per cent around the vertical price would be denied completion of Form M or Form NXP.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via vopara@icirnigeria.org

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