Customs explores e-Naira for duty collection
• Maritime stakeholders say digital currency has no significant impact on sector
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed readiness to begin collection of import duty with the e-naira that was recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The National Deputy Public Relations Officer of Customs, Timi Bomodi, in a chat with journalists, expressed readiness to embrace the e-naira, while stating that as long as payments are routed through authorised dealer banks and confirmed, the Nigeria Customs Service is okay with it.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the maritime industry have said the digital currency may have little or no significant impact on the sector, even as many showed ignorance about the innovation.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) digital currency, the e-Naira, in Abuja recently, while also stating that the purpose of the electronic currency is to take further steps to reverse the country’s over reliance on imports.
The immediate past Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yussuf noted that the e-naira will have little or no significant impact in the maritime industry, while stating that there is need for stakeholders to be careful not to fall victims of fraudsters through the e-naira platform.
He added that while transactions on existing platforms are already in trillions of Naira, and still counting, stakeholders in the maritime sector are expecting to see what additional value the e-naira will bring.
Yusuf further said there is no connection between the e-naira and the exchange rate, while noting that exchange rate is determined by the demand and supply fundamentals in the foreign exchange market that are driven largely by imports, exports and the flow of capital across borders.
He added that the naira, whether digital or physical, is just a means of exchange and to some extent, a store of value.
According to him, “I don’t see any significant value the e-naira will bring to the maritime sector, the e-naira is consistent with current digitalisation trend across all sectors globally. Digital applications typically come with efficiency, cost effectiveness, smartness in usage and convenience.
“But it is still not clear what the value proposition of e-naira is, beyond the psychological satisfaction of joining the league of countries with digital currencies. Perhaps it is still early days. It may be necessary to allow the scenario to fully unfold.
“However, the first major worry is the issue of security and vulnerability to cybercrimes. The second is the pace of adoption having regards to the level of literacy and the huge informal economy.
“Meanwhile, a great deal of sensitisation and awareness need to be undertaken to generate trust and confidence in this new payment system initiative,” he said.
On his part, Deputy National President, Air Logistics, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Segun Musa, also noted that the benefit of the e-naira is very minimal to freight forwarding industry, stating that the only value that can be derived from the e-naira is transfer charges that will be removed.
He said: “The benefit of e-naira is very minimal to freight forwarding. I know because it is a government project, there is going to be a lot of propaganda surrounding it. But the reality is that the value we are to derive is very minimal. Probably during transactions, the banks will not give you charges and also if you don’t have an account, you can operate with your e-naira. Aside from that, I don’t see much value that can be derived from it.
Meanwhile, the National Secretary Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Babatunde Mukaila, stated that the e-naira will impact positively on the industry, noting that it will reduce human contacts and as well curb unnecessary corruption at the ports.
“E-commerce is the new hub and a global thing now, that is what is trending now. Nigeria, being the first in Africa to go this way is very commendable. The recent World Customs Organisations online news talk about how Customs globally are coping with the challenges of e- commerce, so it is going to be a very good development.
“Don’t forget about six months ago, the issue of physical documentation is being put to rest bit by bit now; you don’t need a bill of laden originally to get delivery or as a title of documents, all global shipping lines are using code now that will dictate that you are the owner of the cargo at the point of destination,” he said.