The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a digital invoicing system for importers and exporters to tackle excessive pricing, the deputy governor said.
The new system, which became operational on February 1, aims to “save more foreign exchange earnings which will be channeled to the most productive sectors of the economy”, Kingsley Obiora said in a statement released over the weekend during the the January monetary policy committee meeting.
“This will boost local productive capacity, promote inclusive growth and maintain a strong naira exchange rate,” he said.
Importers and exporters must present an electronic invoice authenticated by their banks. The central bank verifies all submitted prices against a global benchmark.
“The goal is to eliminate over-invoicing, mispricing of exports and imports, and money laundering activities,” Obiora said.
The Abuja-based central bank has introduced various measures to curb demand for dollars since 2020, following a slump in oil revenues which account for around 90% of foreign exchange earnings. Yet it has been forced to devalue the local currency three times in the past two years and has a backlog of about $1.7 billion in unmet dollar demand from investors, according to the International Monetary Fund. .
The local unit traded 415.61 naira to the dollar in the official spot market as of 2:56 p.m. in Lagos and traded 37% lower in the parallel market, due to a shortage of the greenback.