Exporters, Agents Lament Difficulties In Obtaining CBN Proceeds Number
Nigerian exporters have lamented the difficulties and undue stress in obtaining the Nigerian Export Proceeds Number, a new procedure introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria for non-oil exportation.
The exporters and agents in separate interviews said their shipments had been forced to spend several weeks at the ports roads which had in turn affected the profitability.
They also lamented several port inefficiencies like the recurring gridlock as part of the problems encountered.
An exporter, Adebayo Adisa, said the government should have implemented the process slowly, so that everyone one in the ecosystem could understand the process.
He said, “The NXP has been a challenge for all the exporters. Government should have given the job to people who are well vast in applications to make the process seamless- everyone was just forced to go online immediately.
“The way it is done currently, shipping lines have been directed not to pick anything till the Central Bank approves. Lots of us have been unable to ship out because of the challenge.
“Some of our colleagues dealing in cocoa and sesame seed are still having their produce at the ports.
“Yet, they will still be made to pay demurrage for using the container.
“Most shipping lines are leaving Nigeria empty handed, CMA-CGM has stopped collecting exports, they say it is better for them to take empty containers out of the country.
“This is because of the stress they are going through from the government agencies.”
Adisa explained that the process of waiting for CBN approval had been so cumbersome that he had not been able to process a single container due to that challenge.
He added, “Tomorrow, I will try to pay a visit to the banks to see how these things can be verified. If I have five containers on one NXP, I have to reapply all over again.
“They said it is because people are using one NXP for several items. But the whole idea is that they want to monitor the exchange.
“If I bring in a dollar, I must sell it at N380 when I know Bureau De Change sells at N480. This means that for every one dollar, I lose N100. Now if I have $100,000, you know what that means.”
A clearing agent, Emmanuel Gbolahun said the new process had made shipping strenuous.
He said, “The new directive from CBN has paralysed the export shipment. The NXP has been in existence for a long time.
“They want to make it a priority which is fine but the way they are going about it is not making it so.
“Now, even before you post the NXP, it takes more than a week. Some people are facing two weeks or even three weeks. One of my clients sent it and submitted, they refused to activate it.
“The process is meant to be seamless for exporters. At Apapa, several export containers have been outside the ports for three weeks or more than that and no one is asking how shippers are coping.
“The old process is better than what we are having now. Some shipping lines are even tired. By the time you hire a truck and you load your goods; how long can a trucker bear with you before you process everything?
“Banks are also culpable. Government should have introduced this policy little by little.”
Lamenting about losses, the agent said that they encountered problems at customs who complained of the network and streamlined the number of NXP produced per day.
According to him, the longer the wait, the more the truck drivers had to be paid, just to continue to stay the course of getting shipments into the ports. He said that truckers had refused to take shipments.
He added that exports were given priority on Sundays, while empty containers from Rivers were being passed three times in a week, which are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
He also stated that the presidential taskforce, police and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority extort truckers trying to gain port access.
Another agent simply identified as Kunle said, “They suddenly came up with the platform and it is not working effectively.
“We are having issues of login. If you are working with Maersk line, you have to close your entry before your container gets into the terminal which is very frustrating.”
Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, Export Group, Kola Awe, noted that the automated platform just started working.
He said, “The platform for the E-NXP has begun to work. All my clients were able to raise the NXP today. That was the major problem because it was not working before and it led to a lot of backlog and the CBN could not okay it. Now that it is open, we hope the pain eases up.”
Awe said that the issue had been lingering for up to three weeks.
He, however, assured that the matter had since been resolved.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello acknowledged the complaints by exporters. He blamed stakeholders for failure to abide by the rules.
He said, “We have got complaints. We have called the CBN, shipping companies, customs and pre-inspection agencies as well as other stakeholders a few days back.
“The problem is that it is a new procedure and some of the players did not abide with the rules.
“The platform is electronic, transparent and fast. With new things, we will find hitches. I think it is becoming easier.
“We are revisiting the tools and sending our observations to the apex bank. Within a short time, they will get a hang of it.”
Bello said sensitisation had been done in other port cities asides Lagos, adding that by the time the Nigerian Ports Authority introduced an electronic call-up system, things would be better.
He advised exporters to be patient and bring their shipment when the procedures had been completed. He said everyone was in a hurry to get to the ports without finishing the procedure.