The platform has since it’s implementation, witnessed a number of upgrades, the most recent upgrade being the automatic upload of e-certificate issued by other related agency i.e Standard Organization Of Nigeria.
e- Form M Nigeria– This simply refers to the process of applying for Form M on the Single window Portal provided by the Central Bank Of Nigerian partnership with the Nigeria Customs Service.
The responsibility of completing the application on rests with the importer of the goods and not the shipper.
Once the importer through the Bank submits a Form M Nigeria application on the portal, a set of number called (Form M number) is automatically generated. This is specific for the application and a file must be created for the transaction.
Form M Nigeria for Importation could be processed as:
. Valid for FOREX: When the importer requests that the FOREX funding for a trade transaction be sourced by the Bank from official window.
. Not valid for FOREX: When the FOREX funding for a trade transaction is sourced outside of the official Window.
BENEFITS OF ELECTRONIC FORM M NIGERIA
. The automation of International Trade Transaction
. Convenience of initiating Trade Transactions by Stakeholders from any location
. It brings all Stakeholders ( Importer, Nigerian Customs Service, Central Bank Of Nigeria) together on single portal
. Ease of confirmation of the status of transaction
. Reduction of turnaround time from importation to clearing stage of all international trade transactions.
However there are steps to be followed when applying for Form M Nigeria registration, these include:
. Registration of Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) at Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) offices
. Validation of TIN by the importer with existing TIN at FIRS offices.
. CAC Registration (for companies)
. Logging on to FIRS portal to register as importer.
.Obtained Certificates for Importation of Goods such as regulatory permit.
.Logging on to https://app.trade.gov.ng/formx by customer through the Bank to initiate the e- Form M.
Also read: How to source FX in Nigeria
REQUIREMENTS TO INITIATE FORM M NIGERIA
. To initiate an e- Form M, it is statutorily required to provide some documents. Irrespective of the item of import, Insurance certificate and Proforma Invoice must be provided. Other documents are dependent on the regulatory agencies responsible for regulating the item of import, some of which are:
. National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC): for the importation of drugs, food, cosmetics and poultry etc.
. Department Of Petroleum Resources (DPR): for the importation of oil and gas products.
. Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC): for importation of power generation equipment e.g generator, transformer etc.
. Federal Fisheries Unit Of Ministry Of Agriculture (Fishery permit): to regulate the importation of seafood.
. Ministry of Defense: Special permit for the importation of explosive products
. National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA): All used products
. Standard Organization of Nigeria: for all items of import except food product, drugs, and used items.
. Standard Organization of Nigeria Product Certificate (SONPC): This is a product conformity scheme whose objective is to help ensure that products imported to Nigeria meet minimum safety requirements.
All products are regulated under SON with the exception of: Food items, drugs, medical products, chemicals used as raw materials by bonafide manufacturers and, military ware and equipment.
FORM M NIGERIA: VALIDITY OF IMPORT DOCUMENTS
The initial validity period of an approved e-Form M Nigeria for general machandise is 180 DAYS, which may be extended for 180days by the Authorized Dealer Bank.
For Capital goods, the initial validity of an approved e-Form M is 365 days subject to a maximum extension of another 365 days by the bank.
However, any subsequent request for re-validation shall be with the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the two scenarios stated above.
The proforma Invoice (PFI) is valid FOR 90days. Any PFI exceeding 90days will not be accepted by the portal. This will be explained on an upcoming post in this blog
Insurance certificate is valid for 1 year. Any insurance certificate bearing a date beyond this period will be rejected.
COMPLETING THE FORM M NIGERIA
In completing the Form M For Importation, users can access the portal with the link https://app.trade.gov.ng/formx as stated earlier by inputting their username and password, you must however note that there are six active fields to be completed by the user namely:
. Names and parties
HEADER: VALID FOR FOREX? (Y/N) FORM M NIGERIA: Users are required to select from the two options
Where “Y” is selected, the payment mode must be either Letter of Credit or Bills for collection
Where “N” is selected, the payment mode must be ‘Not Valid for FOREX’
On July, 2015, the CBN circulated a list of 41 items that can no longer access the official window and now classified as not valid for FOREX. Any application submitted for these items must be supported by document showing the source and evidence of funds.
The following sources are acceptable:
. Inflow from offshore parent company or offshore partner into customer’s Domiciliary account.
. Settlement of beneficiary offshore by relatives or friends (the statement of account of the relative will be required as evidence)
FORM M NIGERIA: EVIDENCE OF SOURCE FUNDS
. Statement of account showing that the importer’s Domiciliary account is adequately funded.
. Confirmation of receipt of payment by the supplier.
. SWIFT copy evidencing payment by the importer.
Note that the source and evidence are required for the Form M to be approved.
PREFIX: This can either be: ‘BA’ OR ‘CB’:
BA for goods/items that are subject to inspection and insurance of pre- Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR). These are usually new items.
CB for goods/items not subject to inspection. Examples of import items that are CB are: Gas, Oil and Petroleum products etc. CB is exempted from PAAR issuance.
Note: Any error on thr Prefix after the registration of the Form M renders the form M null and void.
FORM M NIGERIA: NAMES AND PARTIES- Applicants information on the portal: Importers are required to provide their personal data for the registration of Tax Identification Number (TIN).
If there is a need for amendment relating to TIN, FIRS would have to be involved.
Beneficiary details are inputted based on the information on the Proforma Invoice of the beneficiary and this is transaction specific.
This cannot be amended (either by the bank or CBN) after registration of the Form M For Importation.
TRANSPORT TAB: This refers to mode of transporting the goods from the seller’s/supplier’s country of origin to the applicant’s port of discharge. This could either be sea, Road or Air. The Country of Origin and supply must be well stated on the Proforma Invoice as well as specific port of discharge.
Note that the Nigeria Customs Services office and the port of discharge must be be within the same location e.g. Customs office: TINCAN: port of discharge: TINCAN in that order.
FINANCIAL tab: This shows the overall cost of importation. This cost consists of cost of each item of import (FOB), the freight and the total cost (CFR). The insurance value is the insured sum in the insurance certificate.
PAYMENT MODE: The payment mode and the FOREX status must correspond. For instance when an application is processed valid for FOREX, the corresponding payment mode must be Letters of Credit OR Bills for Collection. An application processed for “Not Valid” must have a corresponding payment mode of “Not Valid”.
GOODS Tab: This is where all the Items are captured based on the Proforma Invoice. It is the total cost of goods in this column that determines the FOB and total cost on the Financial Tab.
Note: The Harmonized System Code (H.S Code) is required for each item of import and this must be provided by the importer. This code must not be accessed by the bank without the importer’s consent for the purpose of Form M For Importation.
AMENDMENT OF FORM M NIGERIA EDITABLE FIELDS
The editable fields after Form M registration are:
1 Header tab a. Valid for Forex (YES/No)
2 Transport tab a. Customs Office b. Mode of Transport c. Country of Supply d. Port of Loading and e. Shipment date.
Other data captured on the Form M (with the exception of beneficiary/applicant details) can only be amended with the approval of CBN. Visit https://www.customs.gov.ng for clarity
CONCLUSION: Form M Nigeria For Importation can be considered as an import License, since it is a mandatory requirement for the importation of goods denominated in foreign currency and from a location outside the shore of Nigeria.
It is however essential that adequate care should be exercised when completing this document to avoid regulatory sanctions and reputational risk.
Raphael Orji is a Digital Marketing Expert, Seasoned and Dynamic Freelancer, with interest in Banking, Personal finance, Entrepreneurial development. A Councillor and Motivational Speaker.
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