With the persistent FX scarcity plaguing Nigeria, and the security challenges the country is facing, the government is taking several measures aimed at controlling both the exchange rate as well as items coming into the country.
Just like the CBN uses Form A to directly sell FX to Nigerian travellers going out of the country at its official rate, it uses Form M to keep an official record of all items imported into the country as well as sell FX to the importers at the official rate.
Form M saves importers the trouble of sourcing for their own forex, which is increasingly becoming difficult to do with the crisis rocking the Nigerian economy. It is also a document that helps the government keep track of who is importing what and at what price.
What is e-Form M
The e-Form M is an online document, a declaration of intention to import physical goods into Nigeria. The document is issued and controlled by the CBN in conjunction with other government agencies including the FIRS, Nigerian custom, and other regulatory agencies depending on the items being imported.
Form M was created in a bid to monitor the safety and quality of all the items that are being imported into Nigeria, as well as enable the government’s collection of due import duties. Form M also serves the importer in that they get to access FX at the government regulated rate which can be almost #200/$ lower compared to the black market rate.
How to download the Form M and registration procedures
Form M is exclusively for importers who want to import items into Nigeria. The first step if you are an importer is to go to The Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal and register as an importer. The portal is a cross-government website through which the services of several government agencies can be accessed and all necessary documents submitted. Register on the Trade portal with your company Tax Identification Number and any valid email address.
The portal is secured for submitting your documents, you can even make payments with your debit card and quickly reference important information on different government agencies involved in trade matters.
For your application to be processed successfully some of the documents you need will include; Tax Identification Number TIN from FIRS, Certificate of Incorporation of your company from CAC, Insurance certificate, Import Permit from the regulatory agency related to your industry eg;
- SON Product Certificate (for new items)
- NAFDAC certificate for all edibles, chemicals, and Pharmaceuticals
- End User Certificate for explosives, fireworks, fertilizers, arms, and ammunition, treated vehicles, private security gadgets, etc.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Fisheries permit for the importation of fish
- Pharmaceutical Certificate and Certificate of Retention of premises for the importation of medicinal drugs.
- NESREA for used items
- Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Permit for petroleum oil products
- PHCN permit for Generating Sets
After your Form M has been processed successfully and items you want to import are deemed eligible. The next step is for the CBN to provide the forex at its official rate. Depending on your bank, you can download the Form M Forex form online or go to any branch to obtain one.
Download e-Form M data form for Guaranty Trust Bank Ltd customers. Other banks’ customers can also obtain a similar form from their banks.
Step-by-step Procedure on How to Use e-Form ‘M’
Step 1: Register your TIN with the Trade Portal Under FIRS Services
Enter your TIN
Enter your Email
Fill the Captcha Image, and Validate
Log in to the Single Trade Portal using the TIN as username and the password created as password. Once you log in, your company name will be displayed in the top right corner.
Start e-Form M Application
Click on Consignment
Under CBN Form Services, choose Fill Form ‘M’
Fill in all the necessary fields that follow
Complete all the Tabs
The tabs are explained below:
Valid for FOREX (Yes or No)
BA or CB Prefix
Applicant Dealer Bank’s code
Applicant Dealer Bank’s address
Applicant Dealer Bank’s branch
Names and Parties
Applicant and Beneficiary details (beneficiary is the seller or shipper stated in the Proforma invoice)
Applicant’s details e.g address, city, email, name, country code, state code, etc.
Beneficiary’s details e.g address, city, email, name, country code, state code, etc.
Select customs office
Select mode of transport e.g air, road, sea, etc
Select country of origin (this is where the goods were produced)
Select country of supply (this is where the shipment originates from)
Select port of loading
Select port of discharge
Inspection agent (displayed automatically)
Select designated bank (choose your bank)
Select source of funds
Select currency code (as in the PFI)
Enter exchange rate (must be between -10% and +10% of CBN rate provided)
Total FOB (total value of goods + charges for support services)
Enter total freight charges (as in the PFI)
Enter insurance cost (must be in Naira, must be at least 110% of FOB)
Total C&F value is displayed (FOB + Freight charges)
Enter Proforma invoice number and date
Select payment mode and date
Enter goods description and click add
Enter all necessary data about the goods
Enter state of goods and other necessary details about the goods
Select the required documents type and upload
Enter document reference number, date, etc.
Once you click Submit, the entry immediately goes to the International Transactions Unit your preferred bank for necessary review and processing. If satisfactory, the bank then forwards the entry to the Nigeria Customs Service for review and subsequent approval.
What is the purpose of Form M?
Form M was created to enable the Nigerian government to track all goods and items imported into the country so the government can collect the necessary taxes on them. Form M also enables the government to sell forex to importers at the regulated rate in a bid to control the rising exchange rate of the naira.
What is the CBN Form M rate?
The exchange rate the CBN charges importers on Form M is the official rate listed on the Importers & Exporters window. N429.2/$1 is the current rate at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, where forex is traded officially.
How can the Form M be accessed?
The Form ‘M’ is electronic and can be accessed online via a portal called the Single Window for Trade.
Users (Importers, Banks, CBN, NCS & FIRS) of the portal require unique log-on access for their respective profiles to enable submission and processing of the form ‘M’ applications.
Is e-Form ‘M’ mandatory?
Yes, it is. It is a mandatory document to be completed by anyone intending to import physical goods into the country irrespective of the value and whether payment is involved or not.
Do I need Form M to buy and import goods from online stores such as Amazon and AliExpress?
No, items bought on online stores such as Amazon, AliExpress and eBay don’t need Form M to be imported into Nigeria. All that is needed is to pay customs duties which are usually handled by these online stores in most cases. Note that you also don’t qualify for the official exchange rate if you don’t use Form M, meaning you import your items at the black market rate.