Ports Congestion: House Urges CBN to Suspend E-evaluator, E-invoicing Policy, Invites Emefiele

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Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspends with immediate effect the implementation of the new guidelines on the introduction of E-Evaluator, E-Invoicing for import and export businesses in Nigeria.

According to the lawmakers, this is to enable adequate sensitization on the workability of the policy in all major ports of entry including sea ports, airports, and border stations.

The House urged the CBN to give 90 days’ timeline for subsequent new fiscal/monetary policy implementation to allow for adjustment in order to stabilize the economy.

The House also invited the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to brief the Committees on Customs and Excise and Banking and Currency, with assurances that the target revenue of N3.1 trillion given to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) by the Federal Government of Nigeria, (which the NCS announced to the media that they are targeting N4.2 trillion), will not be distorted by this sudden policy implementation.

The resolutions of the lawmakers were sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Leke Abejide, at plenary.

Moving the motion, Abejide recalled that on January 21, 2022, the CBN issued a circular on guidelines on imports and exports businesses in Nigeria, with reference number TED/FEM/FPC/PUB/01/001 to take effect from 1, February 2022, 10 days after the issuance of the guidelines.

He was of the view that the CBN has gradually deviated from its primary function of monetary policy measures and bankers to government and concentrating more on fiscal policy measure which is the function of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The lawmaker opined that sudden monetary/fiscal circular hurriedly or haphazardly implemented often leads to policy summersault, hence a major policy change such as this with a grace period of 90 days is usually expected for transactions to run its full course to avoid distortion in the economy and also avoid price distortions of trade.

He expressed concerns that if the guidelines are not given adequate time to sensitize and acquaint the major ports of entry in the country for stakeholders and the general public to study the policy, it will distort prices of goods and services and create logjams for imports and exports, delay transactions and consequently cause ports congestion.

Also at plenary, the House formally moved a motion to ascertain the actual daily consumption of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in Nigeria and the actual cost of rehabilitation of Nigerian refineries.

The Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had on Wednesday set up two ad hoc committees to investigate the issues so as to determine the level of subsidy being paid by the government and as well as ascertain what it will cost to bring the refineries back to life again.

The two separate motions were moved by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, and Hon. Ademorin Kuye.

While the ad hoc committee to ascertain the actual cost of rehabilitating the Nigerian refineries were given six weeks to carry out the investigation and report back for further legislative action, the other committee on fuel consumption were give eight weeks.