Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos
The leaderships of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review its new import policy on banks and authorised dealers to stop opening Forms ‘M’ for payments made through import laden companies, agents or other third parties.
The call was made on Tuesday by the Director-General, LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf.
Yusuf disclosed that in the Nigerian economy, distributors and dealers of imported machinery form the nexus between local manufacturers to the retailers and even to the consumers noting that the new policy would create more problems for the economy than its original intent.
He stated: “Middlemen play a critical role in the supply and distribution chain in any economy, domestically and globally. They bring a great deal of value to the process. It is impractical to expect all importers of raw materials, equipment, and other inputs to buy directly from the ultimate producer, manufacturer, or supplier, especially in an economy driven by small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”
In transactional and importation terms, form ‘M’ is a mandated statutory document for all importers to complete and register with authorised dealers (banks) for the purpose of purchasing of foreign exchange through the CBN for the importation of goods into Nigeria at the time of placing orders.
“Already most foreign exchange transactions have been frozen on account of this circular. What this means is that the supply chain of over 80% of the business community has once again been disrupted and dislocated. This is like substituting the global supply chain problem with a domestic supply chain disruption.
“This policy negates the current laudable efforts by the government (and even the CBN itself) to ensure business continuity, sustainability, and recovery. It is also in conflict with the letters and spirit of the Economic Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government,” he added.
Meanwhile, NECA is appealing to the country’s apex chief, Godwin Emefiele, to find an amicable solution to the matter.