Nigeria: The New Import And Export Guidelines: Any Respite For The Trader?

Last Updated: 25 January 2018
Article by Deloitte Nigeria

Most Read Contributor in Nigeria, October 2018

Monday, 1 January 2018, did not only mark the celebration of New Year in Nigeria, it also heralded the effectiveness of the revised import and export guidelines (the Guidelines) issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).

While the Guidelines are not entirely new, the impact of its changes are significant and traders must pay particular attention to the specific changes to avoid potential financial and reputational risks.

The changes could be classified into two broad categories ranging from establishment of newer requirements and introduction of weightier sanctions for noncompliance. Highlights of these changes are set out below:

i. Establishment of new requirements

  • Palletization: The most significant change is the requirement to palletize imported goods. All containerized goods, except those specifically exempted (as documented in FGN''s Circular) are required to be stacked on pallets.

    Expectedly, this directive received criticism by traders who consider palletization an onerous obligation – as pallets occupy space, add extra weight and come with a fee. Traders already operating on tight margins may not be able to survive within the boundaries of the current business environment.

    It is however imperative to note that palletization is not a novel concept in global trade. It is seen as best practice as it enhances efficient supply chain operations. Specifically, palletization facilitates easy handling by forklifts which results in improved timeline to store, load and unload goods which have been stacked on pallets. From FGN's standpoint, palletization would help accelerate operations at the ports, aiding the ease of doing business in Nigeria

  • Transmission of cargo manifest prior to arrival: Carriers are obliged to transmit cargo manifests to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) prior to arrival. This is meant to reduce associated delays with risk profiling, cargo placement and ultimately clearance of goods. While this requirement is not entirely new, we assume the drive for compliance will be more effective under the new regime.
  • Joint examination of cargo: The NCS is now required to coordinate joint physical inspection of cargo to reduce duplication of physical inspection by several government agencies as this creates avenue for illicit business and impacts the turnaround time for clearance of goods.
  • Reduction in required documentation: Documents required for imports have been reduced from 14 to 8 and for exports, from 10 to 7. However, there is no clarity on the actual documents retired, as documents usually required during an import or export under the old guidelines, still feature in the Guidelines. To avoid ambiguity, it would be useful to have communication from FGN stating clearly the expunged documentation.
  • Obligation to improve service delivery: There are enhanced timelines to execute essential services. These include weekend inspection services by NCS, strict compliance with timelines by authorised banks. Further, preshipment inspection agents (PIAs) must schedule inspection of exports within 48 hours and issue a clean certificate of inspection (CCI) within 72 hours of inspection.
  • Extension of the validity period of Form M: The initial validity period for Form M has been extended to 360 days for general merchandise and 720 days for capital goods. Authorised banks could further extend the validity period by 180 days and 360 days for general merchandise and capital goods respectively. Any further extension must be with the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

ii. Introduction of weightier sanctions

These have been categorized according to the stakeholder/players in the industry. industry.

  • Authorised banks: Exclusion from doing business with the NCS for issuing multiple Form M's on the same import transaction.
  • Importers and exporters: 1% charge on export proceeds not repatriated within 180 days from export and 25% charge on free on board value of unapproved unpalletized cargo.
  • Carriers: Refusal of berthing rights to carriers who fail to transmit cargo manifests prior to arriving Nigeria.
  • PIAs: 25% charge on service fees for failure to issue a CCI within 72 hours of inspection and potential withdrawal of inspection mandate for failure to make prompt returns, attend inspections timely, and identify non-compliant exports.

The 2018 edition of the World Bank's ease of doing business survey ranked Nigeria at 145 out of the 190 economies assessed (previous year survey ranked Nigeria at 169). Based on the country's antecedents, a 24 place gain is commendable but inadequate, in light of the current economic realities.

Further review of the rankings shows that of the 10 underpinning drivers for the rankings, Nigeria is mostly inadequate in trading across borders. Specifically, compared to the previous rankings, the country fell 2 places from 181 to 183 (out of 190 economies evaluated) on the aspect of trading across borders. From a competitive standpoint, this cannot be the narrative if the country is seeking to attract investment and promote more efficient manufacturing supply chains for production of locally consumed and exported goods.

The Guidelines appear to be a deliberate strategy by FGN to curb the gridlock at the ports and in my view should prima facie improve the turnaround time for cargo clearance. Nonetheless, framework documentation without actual implementation is futile and implementation without mechanisms for gauging effectiveness amounts to sailing a ship without the rudder. It should no longer be business as usual for the movement of tangible goods across the border. The success of the country's economic recovery and growth plan, hinges on her ability to efficiently create global supply chains originating or terminating within her boundaries.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions