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LCCI to CBN: drive non-oil export through policy review

Published by The Nation on Mon, 03 May 2021

By Chikodi OkereochaThe Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review its policy on repatriation of export proceeds.The LCCI said such reevaluation would not only allow exporters free and unfettered access to their export proceeds, but would help drive non-oil exports.Its director-general, Dr. Muda Yusuf, who stated these at a quarterly workshop for business editors in Lagos at the weekend, added that the CBNs policy on repatriation of export proceeds encourages sharp practices in export documentation processes.Yusuf added that the sharp practices make many exporters to avoid filling the Nigerian Export Proceeds Form (NXP), otherwise known as Form NXP.The theme of the workshop was Strengthening economic recovery in a pandemic through aggressive mon-oil export drive: Prospects and challenges.The LCCI D-G, who was the guest speaker, said one of the problems hindering non-oil exports was the CBN policy that disallows exporters from having free and unfettered access to their export proceeds.His words: 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. Its 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 to negotiate the rate at which you sell the dollar rather than impose conversion rates on you.The CBN policy requires exporters to repatriate export proceeds within 90 days for oil and gas and 180 days for non-oil exports. Failure to do so constitutes a breach of the extant regulation.Read Also:Nigerias economy remains fragile, says LCCIBut the policy, which came in the wake of the shortage of foreign exchange in the country, forcing the apex bank to place its hopes on the remittance of export proceeds and Diaspora remittances, has not gone down well with the LCCI.Yusuf lamented that the current policy now is that once export proceeds come, they have to be exchanged at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing (NAFEX), that is the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, which is about N410/$ or thereabout. The open market rate is about N480/$.Yusuf said: Look at the difference and we say we want to encourage non-oil export' Is that not a deliberate disincentive'He said this was why the LCCI has been canvassing that the kind of policy the CBN introduced to support Nigerians in the Diaspora should be extended to exporters.He added: Even though you cannot give money to exporters to develop, just let them have access to their money.If they want to cash it, let them cash it; let them take it to bureau de change operators or whatever. Isnt it still in this economy'Noting that the push for a review of the export proceeds policy by the CBN is an ongoing advocacy, Yusuf said the LCCI hopes that the apex bank will have a rethink.According to him, a lot of energy is being dissipated chasing exporters for not remitting their export proceeds.Head, Strategic Planning, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Tayo Omidiji said NEXIM, as an Export Credit Agency (ECA) and Nigerias trade policy bank, has an avalanche of export support funds like the N500 Billion Export Stimulation Facility (ESF), managed in collaboration with the CBN.
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