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CBN Launches New Price Verification Portal: Latest Updates on 13 September 2023



CBN Launches New Price Verification Portal:

A Rising Wave of Apprehension over CBN’s Novel Price Verification System as Voiced by Clearing Agents 

Clearing agents, in recent epochs, have registered a chorus of disapproval aimed at the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) newly debuted Price Verification System (PVS).  

These agents contend vehemently that the newly-minted system is antithetical to the established trade facilitation norms, exacerbating the complexities associated with the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in the vast African nation of Nigeria. 

In this composition, we penetrate deeper into the agents’ vehement concerns over the nascent system, accompanying their journey through their robust quest for a comprehensive reevaluation of this somewhat controversial policy. 

Existing as the arteries pumping life into Nigeria’s import and export procedures, clearing agents shoulder an irreplaceably paramount role, smoothing the passage of goods traversing in and out of the nation’s territorial boundaries. 

However, the CBN’s freshly unveiled PVS is currently observed as a stonewall inhibiting their fluid operations, with latent potentialities for instigating delays and provoking the onset of redundant and repetitious efforts within the intricate clearance processes.

Letters of Concern

In a dignified and respectable manner, luminaries of the industry have expressed dissatisfaction, voicing their concerns through formal and sophisticated avenues. 

Noteworthily, the honorable president of the National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), the esteemed Lucky Amiwero, bestowed upon the static world through the act of inking a meticulously-constructed missive. Its addressees are an array of venerable figures, among them President Bola Tinubu and the commendable acting governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Folashodun Shonubi. 

This letter, with the tactfulness typical of an experienced campaigner, was disseminated among the media circles in an attempt to incite a robust conversation. The contents of this correspondence meticulously dissect the potential legal imbroglios and procedural anomalies of the Price Verification System (PVS) initiative.

In a meticulously crafted missive, Amiwero illuminated the concern that the newly minted Price Verification System (PVS) purportedly ran afoul of established statutes governing the appraisal of imported merchandise. 

Amiwero, with a hint of authority in his voice, argued that the debut of the PVS found no grounding in any existing legislation, thereby spawning untenable discord with well-settled trade facilitation paradigms. 

With a scrupulous eye towards specificity, he enumerated the particular legislative instruments that the PVS seemed to transgress, particularly pointing to the Customs and Excise Management (Amendment) Act of 2003 and the not-too-distant Nigeria Customs Service Act of 2023.

Procedural Conflicts

Amiwero astutely observed that the introduction of the Price Verification System (PVS) could inadvertently spawn procedural impasses. According to him, it threatens to replicate the duties currently held by the renowned Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), thereby potentially transforming the import and export processes into a tangled web of protracted and laborious tasks. This manifestation, he suggests, is starkly opposed to the efficient logistics management vital for optimum trade operations. 

He persistently underscored the fundamental role of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the guardian of monetary policy. In this influential capacity, the CBN is entrusted with the supervision of exchange rates, deftly navigating the turbulent seas of economics. To divert its focus to verifying the prices of imported or exported goods, he argues, strays alarmingly from the institution’s core mandate. In this compelling discourse, Amiwero thus raises vital questions about the potential impacts of the new verification portal on the intricacies of trade.

Global Standards at Risk

Delving deeper into the issue, the distinguished president of NCMDLCA sounded a note of caution concerning the execution of the Price Verification System (PVS). He astutely highlighted the thorny issue that such an enactment could potentially contravene the tenets of international trade agreements. Precisely, his informed remarks distinctly pointed out a palpable contradiction between the novel verification process and the respected articles put forth by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a notable establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 

Expressing a fervor that demanded attention, he emphasized that the global trading sphere has consciously and deliberately evolved beyond the archaic practice of benchmarking – an antiquated system that, it appears, the PVS is insidiously rejuvenating. Such a move, he warns, stirs the risk of inadvertently estranging the great nation of Nigeria from adhering to the customary and recognized global trade practices that have so steadily guided the ebb and flow of international commerce for decades.

A Call for Reconsideration

 light of these apprehensions, clearing agents passionately implore the Nigerian federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reconsider the decision to implement the Price Verification System (PVS).

Their plea, far from being a desperate cry, is a well-grounded argument highlighting potential complications that could arise in trade processes, as well as potential clashes with existing laws and international standards. 

Boldly asserting their position, these agents maintain that the prevailing laws currently offer a comprehensive framework for the valuation of goods within Nigeria, thereby rendering the new PVS superfluous. 

In the aftermath of the CBN’s introduction of the Price Verification System, a wave of trepidation has visibly swept across the community of clearing agents in Nigeria. 

Their fears, far-reaching and deep-seated, revolve around the potential for expansive procedural delays and the possibility of conflict respecting both domestic laws and global trade agreements, if the system is not carefully examined and revised. 

Judging from the current state of affairs, it appears the responsibility now lies squarely with the federal government and the CBN to address these deeply felt concerns. They may need to retrospectively reconsider the policy for the overarching benefit of facilitating trade within the nation’s borders.

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