Amid the ongoing forex crisis within the nation, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled a Foreign Exchange (FX) Price Verification System (PVS) portal, aimed at granting importers access to forex.
According to a press release from the Trade and Exchange Department on Thursday evening, the apex bank has mandated that all Form M requests must now include a Price Verification Report generated from the portal, starting from August 31, 2023.
The announcement states, “After a successful pilot phase and comprehensive training sessions conducted with all banking institutions, the Central Bank of Nigeria is pleased to announce the official launch of the Price Verification System (PVS).”
The statement continues, “Every application for Forms M must be accompanied by an authentic Price Verification Report generated through the price verification portal. To be clear, this circular establishes the Price Verification Report as an obligatory trade document, a prerequisite for the finalization of Form M.
All authorized dealers are hereby advised to ensure their clients are informed of this requirement.” The CBN also cautioned that any breaches would be met with suitable penalties while urging importers to uphold compliance.
As available records indicate, the validity period for a Form M is 180 days (for general merchandise) and 365 days (for plant and machinery). The Authorized Dealer can extend this by 180 days (for general merchandise) and 365 days (for plant and machinery) if warranted. Subsequent extensions must be approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
CBN Cautions Against Illegal Financial Operators
This recent development coincides with an advisory from the CBN-led Financial Services Regulation and Coordinating Committee (FSRCC), in collaboration with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
They have jointly cautioned the Nigerian populace against engaging with Illegal Financial Operators (IFOs), commonly known as Ponzi schemes, which come in various disguises.
In a joint statement accessible on the CBN website, these regulators stress that the proliferation of these activities poses a significant threat to public trust and the stability of the Nigerian financial system.
“The FSRCC and NEC, in their ongoing efforts to eradicate the menace of IFOs in Nigeria, hereby issue the following advisory to the general public: Abstain from transactions with unlicensed or illicit financial operators who tempt and deceive unsuspecting individuals by offering abnormally high investment returns.”
The FSRCC and NBC’s statement continues, “Before making investments, verify the licensing status of such companies and schemes on the following websites: CBN: https://www.cbn.gov.ng; NAICOM: https://naicom.gov.ng; PenCom: https://www.pencom.gov.ng; SEC: https://sec.gov.ng.”
Consequently, the committee urges the public to report any individuals or entities suspected of engaging in such malicious activities to law enforcement agencies and to utilize its toll-free helplines.
“The member agencies will persistently conduct awareness campaigns about the dangers posed by the operations of Illegal Financial Operators. For further inquiries, reach out to The Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department / Secretary, FSRCC, Central Bank of Nigeria, and/or The Executive Commissioner, Legal, and Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission,” the statement concludes.
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