The introduction of the “Race to $200 billion in FX Repatriation” (RT200 FX) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has spurred significant improvement in Nigeria’s export remittances, the apex bank has revealed.
The Principal Manager, Trade and Exchange Department, CBN, Mrs Anne Nnenna Ezekhennagha, disclosed this at the just concluded Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) 2022 annual conference with the theme “Boosting domestic capacity for sustainable export earnings”, held in Lagos.
The CBN introduced the RT200 policy in February this year to reduce the country’s exposure to volatile sources of foreign exchange and improved sustainable forex inflow by giving rebates to exporters who repatriate their proceeds within a specific period of time.
The policy seeks to raise $200 billion in the next five years in forex earnings from non-oil sources by giving N35 for every dollar repatriated through the Investors ‘and Exporters’ Forex window.
CBN Says RT200 FX Has Improved Nigeria’s Export Remittances
Ezekhennagha said the CBN had paid rebates to exporters who have taken the opportunity of the RT200 scheme in the first two quarters of the year and will commence another series of examinations and verification exercises so that the third quarter rebates would be paid.
“We have seen significant improvement, not just in the figures that have been repatriated, but also in the number of exporters that are now willing to come to the formal sector.
“A lot of our exports have been happening informally, but with this scheme, we have found that a lot more players in the export sector are willing to come to the formal sector,” she asserted.
She added that there has also been a significant increase in the number of commodities that are exporters from Nigeria, saying for instance, regarding “The solid minerals, we are seeing more and more players in that sector coming into the formal sector to report their exports and participate in the RT200 FX scheme.
So, I would say it has been very successful so far.”
Meanwhile, an assistant director at the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Mrs Adaora Nwonu, has stressed the need to fast-track the full automation of the country’s ports, explaining that this is crucial to boost its export.
She maintained that the cumbersome manual processing of export documents has been having negative impacts on Nigeria’s export, thereby inhibiting its forex inflow from non-oil exports.
According to her, there has been a significant improvement in the country’s ports with the introduction of the electronic call-up system by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), which has reduced the gridlock that usually characterised Apapa and its environment, and reduced export time by almost 50%.
“We have advocated that we must automate. Automatation is the key. When you automate, it takes care of all the arbitral manual processes. So, we cannot run away from it,” she said.
She added that the reduction in the number of government agencies physically present in the ports has also contributed to the current improvement in the country’s ports, noting that automation would further reduce the number of agencies needed in the ports, though the agencies at the ports have been reduced from 14 to 8.
Nwonu argued that the port clearing processes could be streamlined manually with the use of scanners in the ports and address the long manual processes, thereby shortening the time exporters and importers spend clearing their goods.