The Federal Government of Nigeria has been called upon to cancel the e-valuator and e-invoicing recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
A seasoned freight forwarder, Dr. Eugene Nweke made the call in Lagos and said that the new import instruments were a ploy orchestrated by some elements in the federal ministry of finance in connivance with the CBN to re-introduce pre-shipment inspection and take over the functions of Nigeria Customs Service.
Nweke, a former president of the Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), said the policy was at variance with the fiscal policy.
He said that instead of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) requesting CBN to extend the take-off of the instrument by 90 days, it should have called on the government to discard it forthwith based on the threats they pose to trade.
Nweke said, “Conflict of interest so glaring as the same supervisory Minister vetoed the e-customs modernization and consented to the e-evaluator and e-invoicing.
“The move amounts to both double handling and taxation, both at the origin port and destination port.
“The operational pedigree, performance and capacity of the contractor or consultant are not known by the Nigerian lawmakers, and the bidding process for official engagement is not in the public knowledge.
“The initiative will increase the cost of importation into the country, with its contributory infractions to the economic hardship in the land.
“The consultancy services fee, terms and conditions, or contract value payable to the consultant is not in the public knowledge. No sensitization of the stakeholders prior to contractual engagements.
“In summary, the initiative is a calculated and subtle move to indirectly usurp the Nigeria Customs Service functions from behind.
“By the present destination inspection, it is the duty of the Customs to evaluate or raise value for trade goods coming into or leaving the country.
“When you set a parallel consultant to receive e-invoice into their portal and to reevaluate it at a set benchmark, it amounts to usurping of the customs function.”
Nweke, therefore, called on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to take a second look at the policy.