The Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, has threatened to impose heavy sanctions on exporters who failed to repatriate foreign exchange proceeds from their international business.
In a statement on Tuesday entitled ‘CBN goes tough on exporters over forex non-repatriation,’ it said this was part of its eff20ort to increase foreign exchange liquidity in the country.
The directive issued by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday during the bi-monthly virtual meeting of the Bankers’ Committee, came barely 24 hours after the bank announced the abolition of third-party ‘Form M’ payment. This also followed the adoption of the strategy to discourage over-invoicing, which some businesses had allegedly used to divert forex from the country through the opening of ‘Forms M’ for which payment were routed through a buying company, agent, or other third parties.
The statement signed by the bank’s Director of Trade and Exchange, Dr Ozoemena Nnaji, explained that the directive was aimed at ensuring prudent use of Nigeria’s forex resources and the elimination of incidences of over-invoicing, transfer pricing, double handling charges and avoidable costs that are ultimately passed to the average Nigerian consumer. It recalled that the CBN, in the past, had also warned exporters conducting export activity against diverting foreign exchange from the export proceeds, instead of repatriating same home.
The CBN said its foreign exchange manual provided that all exporters should repatriate export proceeds back to the country to support the local currency and boost the economy. According to the statement, analysts said that a number of punitive options were open to the CBN, including, but not limited to, barring the exporters from the foreign exchange market and other banking services.
The CBN directed all banks in the country to submit the names, addresses and Bank Verification Numbers of exporters that had defaulted in repatriating their exports proceeds for further action.
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