Nigerian industrialists under the auspices of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have enjoined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reevaluate its policy on repatriation of export proceeds to facilitate exporters’ easy access to proceeds.
Speaking on behalf of local industrialists at the quarterly workshop of Association of Business Editors in Nigeria(ABEN) held recently in Lagos,Muda Yusuf, the director-general, LCCI, called on the apex bank to review its foreign exchange policy on the repatriation of export proceeds so as to boost non-oil export revenues.
According to him, the CBN policy as it stands, has given room for sharp practices and corruption in export documentation processes, with most exporters avoiding filling the Nigerian Export Proceeds Form (NXP), otherwise known as ‘Form NXP’.
The LCCI chief, who spoke on the theme of the workshop: “Strengthening Economic Recovery in a Pandemic through Aggressive Non-Oil Export Drive: Prospects and Challenges.” noted that one of the challenges hindering non-oil export was CBN’s policy that restricts exporters from having free and unfettered access to their export proceeds.
“You get your export proceeds and the CBN will be telling you that this is the exchange rate that they will need to convert your proceeds for you. It’s not fair. You are the owner of your money; you are the one that exported. If they cannot give you your dollar directly, then, they should allow you negotiate the rate at which you sell the dollar rather than impose conversion rates on you,” he charged.
Yusuf bemoaned that the current policy now is that once export proceeds come, it has to be exchanged at the Investors’ and Exporters’ (I&E) window, which is about N410/$ or thereabout, while the open market rate is about N480/$.
“Look at the difference and we said we want to encourage non-oil export? Is that not a deliberate disincentive?” he queried.
He disclosed that as a result of the unfavourable policy, some exporters decided to go to neighbouring countries such as Republic of Benin (Cotonou) and export from there, lamenting that crossing the borders to export because of policies meant the Nigeria government is not ready to foster non-oil exports and economic diversification goals.
Yusuf thereafter suggested that the kind of policy the CBN has done to support Nigerians in the Diaspora should be extended to exporters