CBN’s axe dangles on shipping lines over new export policy …As Shippers Council pledges synergy with stakeholders
The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN has warned that it will come heavily on shipping companies, importers and exporters (shippers) who fail to comply with Federal Government’s new export policy, which requires that all export goods leaving the country should carry the Nigerian Export Proceeds NXP numbers.
This warning is sequel to the discovery that many shipping lines, shippers operating in the country have deliberately flouted the regulation, which the apex bank warned would attract severe sanctions going forward.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Shippers Council has pledged to synergise with stakeholders, including other government agencies as part of efforts to ensure full compliance with the policy.
Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, who spoke while chairing a virtual meeting, stated that following a directive by the Federal Government to audit shipping companies to ensure that all shipping documents carry the NXP number, the apex bank discovered that several shipping companies failed to comply with the policy, which he warned would attract severe sanctions henceforth.
Addressing the shipping lines during the virtual meeting, Emefiele said: “We are going to set up an auto system, where if someone wants to send cargo, copies of the NXP form will be sent directly to you, so that if you don’t have it on line on your system that the NXP has been registered, you turn back that cargo.
“You cannot accept any number and use it as a basis for shipping. We are not going to allow that. That is not acceptable. If you don’t see NXP Forms, that cargo should be turned back”.
It was however gathered that the CBN is currently working on a circular that would outline the procedures, which would be sent out to shipping lines and relevant agencies such as the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria Customs Service and security agencies, among others.
Executive Secretary/CEO of Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, said the council in partnership with the Central Bank has carried out levels of sensitisation meetings in Lagos and Port Harcourt with a view to educating shipping companies and exporters on the need to implement the directive on the NXP.
Bello assured that the council would work with other agencies of government to ensure full compliance, so that export without the NXP is discontinued.
Responding, the Managing Director, MSC Nigeria Limited, Andrew Lynch stated that his company receives NXP forms on all major agro commodities such as cashew, cocoa and sesame seeds, but not for commodities such as charcoal and timber.
According to him, they find out that these items do not have NXP forms after they have already arrived at the port and once cargo gets to the port and has gotten clearance from the Nigeria Customs Services, there is pressure, due to space constraints at the port to ship immediately.
He added that one of their challenges also lies in their inability to verify the authenticity of an NXP Form.
Managing Director, Grimaldi Nigeria Ltd, Ascanio Russo, stated that in addition to not being able to verify the authenticity of the NXP Form, his company is unable to access CBN’s online portal.
The virtual meeting which was attended by some representatives of shipping lines in the country was also an opportunity for the Governor to enquire as to why these companies were not complying by the Federal Government’s directive and some of their challenges regarding the NXP.
In attendance at the virtual meeting included representatives of Maersk Line Nigeria Limited, Ocean Network Express Nigeria Limited, MSC Nigeria Limited, Golden Shipping Company and Grimaldi Nigeria Limited.