• Threatens heavy sanctions

BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – Nigerian exporters that default in repatriating their exports proceeds to the country will henceforth face stiffer penalties from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

In conjunction with the Bankers’ Committee, the apex Bank heavy sanctions now await exporters who deliberately refuse to bring back foreign exchange proceeds from their international businesses.

Consequently, CBN has directed all banks in the country to submit the names, addresses and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) of such erring exporters for appropriate action.

The CBN said its Foreign Exchange Manual provides for all exporters to repatriate export proceeds to the country to support the local currency and boost the economy.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who issued the directives on Tuesday, August 25, during the Bankers’ Committee bi-monthly virtual meeting, said it is in line with efforts aimed at increasing foreign exchange liquidity in the country.

The warning is coming barely 24 hours after the apex Bank announced the abolition of third-party “Form M” payment.

According to CBN, this latest move follows its adoption of key strategies to discourage over-invoicing allegedly deployed by some businesses to divert foreign exchange from the country, through the opening of “Forms M” for which payment are routed through a buying company, agent, or other third parties.

In a statement signed by the Bank’s Director of Trade and Exchange, Dr Ozoemena Nnaji, the apex bank also said the directive is meant to ensure prudent use of Nigeria’s foreign exchange resources and eliminate incidences of over-invoicing; transfer pricing; double handling charges; and avoidable costs that are ultimately passed to the average Nigerian consumer.

In the recent past, CBN had warned exporters against diverting foreign exchange from the export proceeds, instead of repatriating same home.

However, for many financial experts, the opinion is that various punitive options are open to CBN and these include barring the exporters from the foreign exchange market and other banking services among others.

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