By G9ija

Shipping and airline companies have been depriving Nigeria of the much-needed dollar earnings by not remitting export proceeds, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Wednesday.

The apex bank’s Foreign Exchange Manual mandates all exporters to repatriate export proceeds to the country to increase foreign exchange liquidity, support the naira and lift the economy.

The regulator has been monitoring non-oil exporters, especially airlines and shipping firms, and assessing their compliance with the export proceeds repatriation policy.

In a circular to authorised dealers, Nigerian Custom Service, (NCS), Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and other stakeholders, CBN Director, Trade & Exchange Department, O.S Nnaji, said the bank had observed with dismay, the non-compliance by shipping and airline companies to its directive on export proceeds remittance.

The CBN guideline requires that Bills of Lading/Airway Bill in respect of exports from Nigeria carry the Central Bank of Nigeria Automates Nigerian Export Proceeds Form (Form NXP) number in respect of the underlying cargoes.

It also mandates electronic processing of Form NXP on the Trade Monitoring System (TRMS) has not been complied with. “Shipping and Airlines companies are required to access the TRMS platform to generate Form NXP numbers for capture on the Bill of Lading for export cargoes,” he said.

The apex bank said all shipment of export cargoes from Nigeria shall henceforth, be in accordance with aforementioned procedures.

The apex bank directed that henceforth, it shall be a breach of extant regulations for any shipping or airline company to take on-board any cargo for which form NXP is not duly completed and approved on the TRMS platform.

It said that those that breach the guidelines will face severe sanctions which shall include refund of the forex value of goods legally exported as well as Post-No-Debit on all bank accounts nationwide.

The CBN also directed all Nigerian banks to submit the names, addresses and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) of exporters that have defaulted in repatriating their exports proceeds, for further action.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said that the apex bank was ready to encourage the revamp of Nigeria’s export sector through deliberate policies that would boost investment and job creation.

According to the CBN manual, proceeds of oil and non-oil exports are to be repatriated into the export proceeds domiciliary accounts of their exporters’ accounts within 90 days for oil exports and 180 days for non-oil exports.

The manual said: “Where this policy is violated, the collecting bank will be liable to a fine of 10 per cent of the Free On Board value of the transaction, including other appropriate penalties as provided in the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA).

“Furthermore, where the exporter fails to repatriate the proceeds into the domiciliary account within the stipulated period, the exporter will be barred from participating in all the segments of foreign exchange market in Nigeria. Some exporters who benefited from Federal Government support scheme, have continually failed to remit export proceeds.”

There is a 90-day grace period during which all proceeds from non-oil exports must be repatriated to the country and all arrears cleared. Forex managers insist that repatriating export proceeds will boost Nigeria’s balance of trade.